This is the first of a bunch of Kilchoman reviews I’ll post within the next days. About half of them were reviews I did about a year or so ago and posted them on r/scotch. Hope you’ll enjoy the reviews. Keep in mind that I might be a little biased because of being a huge Kilchofanboy…
Info: For the 5th Edition of Kilchoman’s 100% Islay five year old fresh and refill bourbon casks were used
Nose: Very fruity, starts like tart apples or oranges but soon turns into something sweeter like peaches and/or Harribo Tropifrutti , or soft fruits, nice bourbonish brown sugar, woody, heather flower and a dark earth-like note
Palate: The entry is more watery than you would imagine, but quickly it gets better! Creamy mouthfeel, vanilla, malty, nice bourbonish sweetness, a burned wood or rubber touch to it, cereals, hints of peat and smoke, the smoke being more prominent, peaches, something like a strong black tea in the transition to the finish
Finish: Ooh, that’s a nice finish! Turns sweet and light smokey with a milk chocolate touch to it, walnuts, medium length with smaller waves of peppery abv, tannin, in the end a bit of a burned rubber touch turns up but luckily doesn’t stay long
Score: B 86/100
To be honest, on some days I like the story around the dram more than I like the dram itself. Even though it’s far from bad and a nice, easy sipper beside its 50% abv. The burned rubber note and strong tea note keep it from scoring higher. My guess is if I had this blind, I would have scored it a little lower. For me this is close to Buffalo Trace not really tastewise, though there are similarities, but in overall reception: I like it, there are some interesting aspects but it’s also a bit bland on the other side. I like the bourbonish sweetness this has but the price is far from bourbonish. My advise is, get a sample first. It’s good and you’ll probably like it. The question is do you like it enough to lay down the money they ask for. On other days I really love this dram…so better find out yourself before you get a bottle!
Kilchoman 100% Islay Small Batch bottled for Germany
Info: While the above was a vatting of five year old fresh and refill bourbon casks this is a small batch release of three fresh bourbon barrels holding 100% Islay for five years. Casks number 358-360/2009 to be exact, being filled on the 30th July 2009 and bottled on the 27th August 2014. The ABV is 60.7%.
Nose: Far more nutty than fruity, brown sugar, rumtoft, an almost boggy/mossy note, caramel, oranges, marker pen note,
Palate: Strong licorice-y entry, brown sugar, vanilla, cereal/malt, hay-like, herbal, a bit of peat in the back, the 60% show their power
Finish: Again the finish is the most beautiful part, here a vanilla sweetness pairs with hints of mocha, chocolate and brown sugar, medium drying, the abv brings nice waves of peppery burn at the side of the tongue
Score: B+ or 87/100
I was very happy to score this one but the first time I had this, this felt like actually a step down from the 100% Islay even though the rubber notes are gone and the tannine is very much tuned down I was a little disappointed the first time. I guess that’s what expectations do to you. Coming back to this dram I enjoyed the sweetness of the malt in combination with the fresh bourbon barrels very much. I never had this with water but since the 60% present themselves rather strong, I actually added a little water later(with a pipette as I tend to water CS drams to much and end up being angry that it’s too watery and swear to never ever add water again…).
Here are my watered down thoughts:
Kilchoman 100% Islay Small Batch bottled for Germany with added water
Nose: Much more fruity (plums, grapes,…) not much of the nutty notes left (sadly) but on the good side the maker pen note is also gone. Quite prominent tart peat, behind it layers of sweetness: vanilla and brown sugar, prominent crispy green grapes the longer I nose it, citrusy.
Palate: A nicer entry, the licorice pairs well with sweet vanilla notes, the peppery abv punch feels almost stronger now, which is pretty weird, a light burned rubber/wood note as well as thick black licorice,
Finish: Brown sugar and pepper, silky mouthfeel and a tuned down version of the above finish (quelle surpries, eh?!) with hints of burned wood
At first I thought I had to add more water because of the prominent peppery abv punch but it actually grew on me quite quickly so I didn’t add water till the very end. I had to add quite a bit to turn down the burn and with lots of water it turned into a creamy, milk chocolate taste which was also very nice. So I advise you to play around with water a bit with this one, you’ll get nice results.
Score: ABC/100 Since it’s kinda not reproducable as I’m too lazy to note down fill levels and added water I don’t score this. Water brings a nice change to it, you should definitely play around with that a bit. And it can take a lot of water so even untalented wateradder, like yours truly, got quite nice results. If I had to put a score on this with water, I would actually rate it a little higher with water