This is barely whisky! Distilled in 2011 and bottled this year, it’s only three years old and has spent all the intervening time in Ruby Port casks. Hopefully this means that this whisky’s children will be gracing my shelf in another 15 years. Starting a distillery requires patience eh!
Kilchoman is (happily) very good young and I’m looking forward to finding out what it’s like old and everything in-between, as the distillery continues to drive craft ethos, terroir and quality through all its whiskies. Meanwhile, don’t hang around picking this up - 6,000 bottles worldwide and huge interest means this won’t last long.
Nose - Spicy, young and warm. Intense black cherries, blackcurrant jam, fresh balloons, bamboo chopsticks and raisins. Old book peat - gives it the appearance of age but definitely involves a lot of paper. Something like a freshly cleaned classic car? Leather polish and engine lubricant. Fascinating. With water, a musky, waxy note appears behind the ashen peat which reminds me of an old Bunnahabhain.
Body - The young, dry, Kilchoman peat is balanced by toffee cherry sweetness, top notes of marker pens and haribo, and retronasal almonds. Immense fruit in the development - cherry and orange.
Finish - Gently numbing peat and loads of round, juicy sweetness. Rather special.
What’s not good about it - The youth pokes through occasionally, so the integration isn’t great.
What’s good about it - But the balance is fantastic - beautiful sweetness and peat, great wine character. Port maturation is a fantastic foil to young and feisty Islay whisky. Lovely!
Thanks to Kilchoman for the official sample.