A couple of interesting cask finishes from Kilchoman today, all the way from France and Spain.
Kilchoman Cognac Matured 2023 Release
This release is a vatting of 32 Cognac casks sourced from Tonellerie Bossuet in France. All the whisky selected for this release was peated to 50ppm and left to mature for a minimum of six years. A total of 15,100 bottles were produced.
It's initially very nutty, with lots of almonds and pistachios. These notes are followed by a nice punch of smoke in the form of burnt oak. There's a floral note, like fresh lavender, some grappa, pear drops, and aniseed. There's a little yeast sitting in the background, giving away the whisky's age. It's not our favourite nose if we're being honest.
On the palate we're immediately hit by dirty, earthy peat that fades and is followed by notes of freshly squeezed lemon juice, plums, quinine, cloves, and maple syrup. It has a long finish, but the spice, in the form of cinnamon, quickly takes over from the sweeter notes. There's an oily/greasy texture to the mouthfeel that we quite like. Overall, it's a more enjoyable palate than nose.
Nose (with water)
Reduction has brought out smouldering bonfire smoke, and the yeasty note has now disappeared. The nose has become more herbal with lots of thyme. There’s also some cloves, a little crystallised ginger, and some dunnage warehouse funk. This has definitely benefited from a few drops of water.
Palate (with water)
The addition of water has brought the sweetness (now more saccharin like) and the peat into better harmony, with the peat now lingering along with the sweetness. The mouthfeel remains good, and the finish has kept its length, with the sweeter notes now also lingering for much longer. There’s probably still a little too much spice for us, but like the nose, water has helped the palate.
In case you didn't realise from above, we recommend adding water to this. With a few drops, this becomes a pleasant dram. That being said, it's far from our favourite Kilchoman release. We would have another dram of this but would pass on a full bottle.
Kilchoman Fino Sherry 2023 Release
This release is a vatting of 20 Fino Sherry butts sourced from Bodega Jose y Miguel Martin in Spain. All the whisky selected for this release was peated to 50ppm and left to mature for a minimum of five years. A total of 15,650 bottles were produced.
On the nose we’re getting parma violets, popcorn, milk chocolate, ashy peat, and brown sugar. Air reveals a little vinegar, and kippers. There’s less peat on the nose than the Cognac cask release which is interesting as this is the younger of the two releases. We’re definitely enjoying the nose on this more than the cognac cask.
On the palate toffee crisp, Caramac, apple, and lime juice blend nicely with the ashy peat. Again, like the nose, the palate isn't as smokey as the cognac release but immediately seems in better balance. The mouthfeel is good, as is the finish, which has salt and peat lingering with some spice. One critique: it is a touch dry for our tastes.
Nose (with water)
Dilution has brought out notes of prunes, citrus, butter, and plastic. Most of the pre-dilution notes are still present, but there is a little less smoke now. That being said, the dram is still pleasant on the nose.
Palate (with water)
The palate remains relatively unchanged, but water has brought out flavours of cinnamon wheels, a little more citrus, and diminished the smoke. It's still a little hot for us, but it has retained its good mouthfeel and long finish. Actually, as we go back to it, it seems a touch hotter with water.
Personally, we'd skip water on this one. The extra spice on the palate means we prefer it undiluted. It's definitely our favourite of the two releases we tried today but falls short of some of the other Kilchoman releases we've had. At £85, it's a little pricey, and we can't rate it higher than 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.