Kilchoman 4yo 2007/2012 (60.9%, OB, Bourbon Cask #390/2007, for The Nectar Belgium)

The Kilchoman I’m about to review was just bottled when I wrote the last Kilchoman review on these pages. When I bought the bottle I’m about to review, it was already an oldie in Kilchoman-time. Both this bottling and my two previous Kilchoman reviews came from 2012, the year I reviewed the 2010 Spring and 2010 Summer editions. All this already 8 years ago! Well, a lot has happened at Kilchoman since then, mostly good (f.i. they make terrific Whisky), but unfortunately also some bad (a kiln fire and an exploding boiler to name but a few).

Kilchoman is a farm distillery on the isle of Islay (Scotland). You know, the place where legends are like Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and a few others that are also well known in the world of Whisky. In comes this “new” distillery (Founded in 2005). Today we have a bottle that is a mere 4 years old (and some months), all the other distilleries on Islay have mostly properly aged Whiskies on the market, so can this offering be anything good at so young an age, from a fairly new distillery? I already know the answer to this, but please read on to find out for yourself.

Color: White Wine, with microscopic small cask sediment particles. Macro flavour molecules, probably a good sign!

Nose: Thick fat peat, and lots and lots of smoke. Licorice. Black and white powder. Salmiak and crushed beetles. Smoked (white) flowers and more peat. More smoke, sweet smoke and an underlying citrussy note. Fresh air, combined with a zesty citrussy aroma. Not the oily bits from the skin, but the fruit within. The fresh air then gets accompanied by whiffs of the smell of a fireplace in winter. Don’t you just like to be outside on a cold winter evening, or night, where people are burning logs in their fireplace at home? Don’t you feel the warmth of family now? Next, (fresh) oak and some dried fish, but foremost sweet licorice. This just screams peat and smoke. However, the smoke may have started out sharply, but it is not sharp now, it’s quite soft and very well integrated into the peat notes. Its almost as if the whisky itself is smoked. Very big, yet not brutal. Hints of vanilla from American oak underneath and cold sweet black tea. Very well made Whisky by these ‘novices’. It already smells the part. It may very well be only 4 years of age, but the profile of the smell remind me of Whiskies from another time. Underneath all this, there is also this sweet fruity aroma. A highly aromatic Malt altogether. Wow!

Taste: Thin toffee with lots of fresh oak, green youthful oak and quite sweet on entry. Hints of wax and cardboard. Dare I say a snuff of Talisker pepper, yes? Peat and crushed beetles are present here as well. What amazing balance in this expression. Eventually the sweetness oozes away a bit, leaving room for the body to be taken over by peat, smoke and quite some (slightly bitter) wood for a 4yo. On top, a fruity acidity, which combines just nicely with the wood and the waxy notes this Malt has. The aforementioned beetle has some staying power in to the less big of a finish than expected. The aftertaste is warming and spicy.

Well, this 4yo from the new kid on the block can really blow many offerings from the big guys right out of the water. For me, this is better than f.i. the Laphroaig Lore, which, compared to this seems a bit boring, for me anyway. You might prefer the more elegant side of the Lore, so please don’t send me any hate-mail over this. Just to be sure, the ‘Lore’ isn’t a bad Whisky at all…

Points: 87

Kilchoman 3yo 2006/2010 “Summer 2010” (46%, OB, Fresh and Refill Bourbon Barrels, Circa 17.500 bottles)

Who said Islay Whiskies are only for the Winter? I tasted a lot of Islay whiskies at un winterly temperatures on nice summer evenings and it all tasted very well. Think out of the box. Although Kilchoman are hinting at the season in which the spirit was distilled, This one especially seems to tell us that Islay and summer goes together very well.

Kilchoman releases are abundant and which is what is quite clear. First there were the new make spirit bottles. Next in 2009 they released the Inaugural Release to be the first of the core range. Also from 2009 the second release became “Autumn 2009” next up was “Spring 2010” and after that the fourth release was this “Summer 2010”. Also in 2009 the first Single Cask releases were released at cask strength. From 2011 the Single Cask bottles were released with red labels. In 2012 a Sherry Cask release at 46% ABV was released with a black label. Also from 2012 a new addition to the core range was released called “Manchir Bay”. Last but not least there are a few releases of 100% Islay at 50% ABV, where all ingredients of the whisky were sourced form the island itself. Now it’s time for “Summer 2010” solely from Bourbon Barrels from Buffalo Trace.

Color: White Wine.

Nose: Fresh young peat, lots of peat, but it isn’t so in your face type of peat. Licorice and black and white powder. Citrus, lemon and whiffs of meat, less stak, more gravy. The whole is very nice. The smoke in this goes very well with the citrus part. Who said Islay Whiskies are not suitable for Summer?

Taste: Sweet. Licorice. A sour element which to me isn’t neccesarily citrussy or lemony. This has a little wood with a little bitter touch to it. Hints of paper. Very uncomplex and a beerlike, maybe hoppy finish.

The nose has more balance than the taste, still the potential is obvious. Again I can’t wait for older Kilchomans.

Points: 82

Thanks go out to Erik for sharing the Whisky.

Kilchoman 3yo 2006/2010 “Spring 2010” (46%, OB, Oloroso Butt Finish, Circa 8.500 bottles)

Kilchoman then. The newest addition to the immensely popular Islay Whisky family. This new small farm distillery was built in 2004 near Kilchoman in the west of Islay, and therefore named Kilchoman. Operations started in 2005 and their first disaster struck in 2005 also. No distillery can call themselves a real Scottish distillery without a big fire. Well history was in the making so let’s do the fire thing quickly, they might have thought. Not hinting at any foul play of course. In 2005 the kiln burned down. Rebuild in 2006 and operations recommenced. As of 2009 but foremost 2010, Whisky started to be released. In 2009 the first release in the new core range was the “Inaugural Release”. Next up was “Autumn 2009” Let’s try our “Spring 2010” that was the third release.

Color: Light Gold

Nose: Spicy butter and fatty. Peat and the smoke is distant. Soapy. Very nice wood. Meaty (steak) and full-bodied smell.

Taste: Licorice, black and white powder. Chewy, Sherried yet clean. Half sweet. Strange enough it also has something “thin”, maybe the ABV seems low (although it is 46% ABV). Again a little hint of soap, but nothing disturbing. Having tasted Bourbon only Kilchoman’s, the soapy element is probably from the Oloroso Butt.

Fair is fair. The Oloroso finish does add some character to the whole. I know the Barrels they source from Buffalo Trace are very good. I don’t know where Kilchoman sources the Sherry Butts and if they are American or European oak. Good spirit and good casks and look at this 3yo Whisky, reduced to 46% and already very nice. Can’t wait to see Kilchoman age!

Points: 84