Kilchoman | Club Release VI (2017) | Five 10 year old Bourbon Casks | 57.4% | NCF & NCA | distilled |01/11/2007 and bottled 20/11/2017 | 1241 Bottles |
This is about expectations and what it does to you and your experience.
I love sherry cask Kilchoman. I don’t like bourbon cask Kilchoman as much. But then again, I really enjoy the vintages but actually almost dislike the Sanaig.
I rarely add water to any whisky, not because I think one shouldn’t or because it’s unmanly or what ever stupid reasons but because a) I’m pretty lazy and b) I usually mess up whenever I add water to my whisky.
But we’ll get back to this later. People expect a nine year old whisky to be better than, say, a five year old or even an eight year old. The reason is we always expect tomorrow better than today, the grass is always better on the other side of the fence and we strive to be better that our ancestors. Well and tons of marketing throughout the years, repeated on and on by generations of influencers in their early forms. That’s why we reach for the twelve year old and not the nine year old because it’s better. That’s why influencers in their current form have it so hard to convince everyone and our whisky drinking mothers that age is just a number and NAS whiskies are sooo good.
It is just a number but our expectations not our experience fill the number with meaning. And even though our expectations are shaped by our experience, we tend to be stupid.
But we’ll get back to this later. Everyone and their whisky drinking mothers were waiting for the first ten year old kilchoman because “Yeah, it’s very good beside its young age. BUT I’m really looking forward how this would taste with more age to it.” This and similar sentences were probably written in many Kilchoman reviews, giving a number more power and more meaning than their own experience and perception.
These words should not only help you to read through this review till the very end but also give you some inside on my chain of thoughts. And to forgive me for my mistakes…because at the end of the day, I also have to remember to only believe what I tasted myself.
Situation: (April 2019) Throughout the last two years and now writing this up while listening to Obey the Brave – you should obey me and check out their new single No more apologies which is pretty awesome!
Information: This is the 2017 Kilchoman Club Release and the first official ten year old release by the Distillery. It is a vatting of five fresh Bourbon Casks all hand-selected by Anthony Wills, who believes that fresh Bourbon Casks are the best way to mature Kilchoman’s spirit because – beside other things – it brings out the citrusy character of the spirit. Spoiler: it does! Like I said above, this release was awaited by many and comes with high expectations…
Nose: Tart to citrusy tropical fruits upfront followed by ashy smoke and vanilla, gooseberry, malty, slightly sweet peat and your rather typical farmy hay notes. Cured bacon. There‘s a slight flowery note hovering above it all as well.
Taste: Powerful entry, sweet peat, brown sugar and vanilla, cigarette smoke, malt, honey, spicy abv bites and some slightly bitter wood, chocolate and some burnt caramel, again there’s a note I’d categorize as flowery without being able to really pin it down.
Water nicely brings caramel and chocolate to the front to pair with the cigarette smoke, vanilla and the wood influence. Amazing what a little water can do!
Finish: Long and intense. Dark coffee, slightly salty and bitter, some wood influence but not much, nutmeg, ashy smoke, some caramel, dark chocolate and After Eight! Quite long.
With water though there are tons of dark chocolate and mocha notes and the finish still stays long, power- and wonderful.
Conclusion: Yeah, I’m not the biggest fan of single bourbon casks or in this case small batches. Also I expected this to be amazing or even beyond because it is 10 years old! And because – see above – I tend to be stupid from time to time. Hence I had totally wrong expectations to this dram which is why initially I was rather disappointed by this dram and quickly came back to my old “Yeah, I’m not the biggest fan of single bourbon casks or in this case small batches”. And this was the mindset I had whenever I gave this bottle another try. But for whatever reasons I changed my usual approach at one time and just added a bit water. Well, to cut it short, it blew my mind just how much better this gets with some water. Shame on me for getting caught up in my own little circle of expectations and habits. This is an amazing dram, just throw your expectations and predefined notions over board and enjoy the whisky. Oh and add some water! Cheers!
Score: ★★★★★ Click here to find out what that means to me.
Other whiskies I reviewed from the distillery: Kilchoman
Other whiskies with the same score: ★★★★★