Kilchoman 16 Year Old

Today we're looking at the oldest release from Islay's second youngest distillery (at least for now..).

Kilchoman 16 Year Old

Region: Islay

ABV: 50.0%

Price: £200.00

Kilchoman's inaugural 16-year-old release was crafted from a vatting of twenty-one casks, initially peated to 50ppm. While the exact composition remains undisclosed, it is understood that this blend predominantly features bourbon casks, with a few sherry casks also included. A total of 5,000 bottles were released.


Initially, the whisky reveals notes of candy floss, play-dough, chopped apples, and cranberries, accompanied by Robinson's fruit diluting juice, black pepper, and caramel. There's a really light peat smoke present, along with hints of fudge fingers, toffee, and mustard. The aroma is pleasant enough, but it lacks any distinct characteristics that we would typically associate with Kilchoman.


Initially, the palate brings forward notes of milk ice lollies, Caramac bars, lavender, honey and nutmeg, complemented by the cranberry notes carried over from the nose. There’s more smoke here than on the nose and it shows predominantly as ash and tobacco. The finish is a good length, though cracked black pepper spice outlasts the sweeter notes. Disappointingly we’re finding the mouthfeel a little thin given the ABV. As we sit with it start to notice a very slight grapefruit-like bitterness, but it doesn’t really detract from the dram. Similarly to the nose we’re not tasting anything that’s obviously Kilchoman.

Nose (with water)

A few drops of water leaves the nose largely unchanged, although it does now exhibit more smoke, along with notes of butter, and vanilla pods. As we sit with it that pre diluted toffee note becomes more prominent and some citrus starts to show.

Palate (with water)

Similar to the nose, there’s more smoke on the palate. Many of the undiluted notes remain, just now joined by mangoes and white sugar. The finish has achieved a better balance between the sweeter notes and the spice, and the mouthfeel remains consistent with its pre-dilution state.


We've witnessed a significant influx of younger distilleries since the 2000's, with names like Kilchoman, Daftmill, Ardnamurchan, Torabhaig, and Holyrood, among others. Some, such as Kilchoman, have excelled with their younger releases. Others, however, have produced whisky that would benefit from a few more years in wood to reach its full potential. With their first 16-year-old release, Kilchoman has arguably come of age. Yet, we can't help feeling that it has not quite lived up to its early potential. We're hopeful that future older releases from the distillery will fulfil that initial promise. This release doesn't quite reach the realms of being bad or great; rather, it comfortably settles into the category of being merely fine.

Score: 6.5/10


Value: £200 is expensive for a 16 year old, and even more so when you factor in this doesn’t really have much in the way of the distillery character. Lots of different options that’s as good or better while also being cheaper.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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    1 comment

    • Abbass Hassan

      I would rather have emails from you , I am nither on Facebook or twitter or instagram.
      Please can you keep posted .
      Happy Xmas

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