Kilchoman 100% Islay 12th edition & Kilchoman 100% Islay 11th edition


Ending the week with two Kilchomans from the 100% Islay series.

Kilchoman 100% Islay 12th edition

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £74.00

The twelfth edition of Kilchoman's 100% Islay whisky, was made exclusively using barley grown on Islay, in this case publican barley variety from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 harvests. This barley was malted, distilled and matured at Kilchoman. This release is a marriage of 29 bourbon barrels and 6 oloroso sherry butts with all having been aged to at least 8 years old. 12,500 bottles were released.

Nose

Initially on the nose we’re getting barley sugars, kiln smoke, and dairy milk chocolate. To be honest the nose is a touch tight. A little air it opens it up with bonfire smoke, seaweed and tar appearing. Going back we’re getting a hint of eucalyptus - Vicks vapor rub, toffee, peanuts and sweet note of vanilla pod mixed with yeast. Promising nose when given a little air.

Palate

Salt, blood orange, lavender and tobacco on the initial and mid palate. The sweetness lingers on the finish along with more salt and a little peat. It’s got a good mouthfeel, but there’s just a touch too much alcohol bite for us here. Going back to it we’re getting ash, black peppercorns, and thyme. We’re getting more of the bourbon cask influence than the sherry, and finding the palate has fallen slightly short of the nose.

Nose (with water)

With water the smoke is reduced and replaced with vanilla sugar syrup. It’s a little yeasty now with charred oak and ash. It’s lost all the menthol notes. Personally, we prefer the nose without water.

Palate (with water)

It’s got a thinner mouthfeel now, and gained a bitter note from grapefruit / dark chocolate along with a bit of spice. It’s like eating a borders ginger nut biscuit wrapped in dark chocolate, and that spice lingers on the tongue. We’re also getting a little more of the sherry now along with less salt and less peat overall.

Conclusion

It’s nice, a touch hot, but not overpoweringly so, and while it’s not the most complex dram we’ve ever tried, we would happily sip away at it dram on a cold winter night.

Score: 7.5/10


Kilchoman 100% Islay 11th edition

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £70.00

The eleventh edition of Kilchoman's 100% Islay whisky, was made exclusively using barley grown on Islay, in this case publican and optic barley varieties from the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 harvests. Like the 12th edition the barley was malted, distilled and matured at Kilchoman. This release is a marriage of 26 bourbon barrels and 7 oloroso sherry butts with all having been aged to at least 9 years old. 12,000 bottles were released.

Nose

Initially we’re getting chocolate and dates. We’re noticing the sherry more with this release. The smoke initially shows in the form of earthy peat. Going back after air reveals yeast, polystyrene, faint pipe smoke, a hint of ethanol, and white vinegar. It's not as interesting a nose as the 12th edition.

Palate

Initially we’re getting sweet caramel, cinnamon, cloves and a slight bitterness from blood orange syrup. There’s some cracked black pepper spice on the finish. We’re finding the alcohol bite is less on this release than the 12th. It’s got a decent mouthfeel, but it’s maybe just a touch thin. Like the nose the palate shows more of the sherry cask influence with notes like smoked ham and toffee.

Nose (with water)

Even more of the sherry appears with a splash of water. Butterscotch, treacle and hazelnuts. Like the 12th release we’re not finding it as smokey with water. The vinegar note has gone, but some vanilla essence and a warehouse mustiness has appeared.

Palate (with water)

Water has brought more of the sherry notes to the fore of the palate. It’s also developed notes of musk, lavender and a faint herbal note. The bitter note from the grapefruit is more pronounced now.

Conclusion

Again, not the most complex dram we’ve tried, but that doesn’t stop us for reaching for another sip. If we had to choose between the two we’d go for this release over the 12th. For us we appreciate the more noticeable sherry notes. Still we’re also giving this a 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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