Another night, another review from the backlog and another wine cask
matured finished Kilchoman.
This time, lucky me has a review of the former inhabitant of the cask again. This one goes by the name of Ximénez, Pedro Ximénez. Mostly referred to as PX in the whisky world. It’s another fortified wine, another Sherry to be more precise. Or while we’re (trying to) being precise, the eponymous grapes which are used for the Sherry. Those grapes have a very high amount of sugar, hence the resulting sherry is very sweet. Most of the time it is not used on it’s own but rather it is blended into other kinds of Sherry to sweeten it up. I’m sorry wine guys if I messed that up or if it is a little imprecise but I’m just here for the drinking…So, tl;dr: PX grapes lead to very sweet Sherry.
This one is 30 years old! And very well acclaimed.
Gonzalez Byass | NOE V.O.R.S. Pedro Ximénez | 30 years old | 15.5 %
Color: OK, this has to be mentioned: pouring this looks like pouring syrup. Color? There is no color, all color is absorbed by blackness. This densely viscous mass is plain black. Yummi!
Nose: R.A.I.S.I.N.S. Or rather grapes in all stages you can get them, raisins, sultanas, grapes …you name it. Tart. A bit of a rubber note in there. Fruity licorice. Caramel. Winey. Y.U.M.M.Y.
Taste: Thick velvet mouthfeel. Really sick thick. I mean seriously creamy. Oh my where to begin? Sweet. Very sweet. Fruit sugar like those dextrose sweets you get at the Pharmacy. It’s so obvious but I still have to mention them: raisins. Also hints of tart notes at the edges but mostly cloying sweet. Fruity. Red berries or other red fruits, plums, sugar covered cherries, chocolate, some nuts like almonds maybe. Dip ripe red grapes in honey and chew them. If you like those kind of things you will love nay adore this. Oh my. I don’t get close to no wood aspects beside the age. The more I taste, the more I feel this tastes like these kind of fruit syrups you can get to make fruit juice. Just without the added water.
Finish: Some burned raisins, hints – really just hints – of dryness buried in sweetness, tart notes also stay around for a while…
Conclusion: I have some 12 year old PX (as well as some Tawny Port and some 15 yo Oloroso!) for the dinner/tasting Friday and I’m excited about it. Almost thought about waking the wife and let her try it as she loves Marsala. She wouldn’t appreciate it. The getting woken part, she’ll probably like the drink. The downside of the sweetness is that I almost start to feel Saturday’s headache today! If you somehow managed to overread it thus far, man this is sweet. I’m not sure if it’s too much for me or not right now it’s still dancing on the edge but as much as I liked the first glass, I just couldn’t pour a second one right now…It’ll be interesting to see how the 12 year old PX compares
Talking about comparing, let’s have a look of what happened after the PX Sherry left the cask. To the cask, not the PX. For four month one of the PX Casks held some Kilchman spirit which before that spend four years and eight month in a first fill Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cask. And then was bottled for an Austrian company called “Pot Still”. I don’t know how many bottles there were, but I didn’t really look very far. I guess it’s 300ish as this was not a small batch or a Sherry Butt but one Bourbon cask. Being the way I am, of course I looked it up the second I finished the sentence. 270 bottles were available and some still are and still for the original 89€ the Pot Still asked for.
Kilchoman Single Cask PX Finish | OB | dest. 05.08.2009 | bottled 05.08.2014 | Fill Bourbon Cask (BT) for 4,8 years and then finished for 4 month in first fill PX Casks | 59.3 % | haven’t seen one lately but you can still get them at auctions – Ok, I looked it up, you can still get it for 89€ at the Pot Still store and online which is a steal and honestly considerably less then I paid…buggers | NCA & NCF
Situation: different ones…right now I’m sitting on the sofa and listening to the The River album sipping on the dram while summarizing old notes into this review…
Nose: Cold ash in a fireplace or maybe more like white charcoal on a BBQ, bacon, meaty, rum raisins and sherry, so yes, PX-influence is there (but not very strong and if you don’t cover your glass, that note will fade rather quickly!), walnuts, sometimes when I got this dram there was also a light glue note, “braising sweet wood” was a fitting description I found in one of my reviews 🙂
Taste: Sweet but different than expected. Aggressive salt’n’pepper abv almost like chewing bbq rub, cloying honey sweetness but I for my tastebuds it seems more like Bourbon cask influence then the PX, salty peat and smoke, walnuts, ashy, Sherry-influence is also there but not very pronounced, dark mocha and chocolate on the transition to the finish.
Finish: Here the PX really shines through, chocolate, honey, raisins, burned wood as well as a burned rubber note, which strangely enough perfectly fits in, the finish starts very intense first then gradually fades out. The Bourbon cask and the PX finish create a nice long lasting sweet finish which covers the abv easily.
Conclusion: A nice combination of underlying spirit and the Bourbon cask and PX sweetness. I have to admit that I was sure this would blow me away with a combination of smoke and intense PX Sherry sweetness but sadly it didn’t. The finishing period seems a bit short and I would love to
see taste how this would develop over a longer finishing period. I would loved the palate to have more depth and complexity and a bigger influence of the PX there. The finish though was lovely and the influence of the finishing cask showed nicely there. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very nice dram and can hold up to most of it’s fortified wine matured brethren but it’s just not A+ as I expected it to be from the pure specifications alone.