Today we’re looking at two single cask releases from Kilchoman distillery.
Kilchoman Founders Cask Release 2021
This is the fourth release in the founders cask series. The spirit for this release was distilled on the 13th of October 2011 from the farms own barley. This barley was peated to 50ppm and matured in a refill oloroso Sherry Hogshead, before being bottled at 10yo. All these releases are picked by a member of the Wilis family, and this cask was selected by James Willis, Anthony Willis’ middle son.
Initially on the nose we’re getting a hint of smoke, tobacco, a touch of brown sugar and black pepper. Giving this a bit of time in the glass, and we’re also getting some vinegar, tar, Bisto gravy, and dried fruits.
The palate is very sweet, think runny honey mixed with Pedro Ximénez sherry. There are also some floral notes lingering behind the initial hit of PX, but the sweeter notes overpower this slightly. The smoke is hanging in there, but it’s in the background. Finish is medium length and has some hot chilli spice lingering.
Nose (with water)
Water has opened the nose up, and in addition to the above notes we’re now also getting some toffee, white musk perfume, and cherries on the nose. The tobacco note has also become more prominent.
Palate (with water)
Water has neutralised some of the chilli heat, with the floral notes becoming more noticeable, and very reminiscent of a Riesling. The water has also dulled some the sweeter notes, and changed the smokey notes more ash like. Finish is medium length with a little cinnamon spice.
With a touch of water this is a good, but not amazing Kilchoman. If this was £20 cheaper it’d be half a point higher, but at it’s current price we can give it anymore than a 7.5/10.
Kilchoman 2011 7 Year Old Single Cask #715 (Distillery Exclusive)
This distillery shop exclusive spent four years in a 1st fill bourbon cask, before having a finishing period of just under four years in an oloroso sherry cask.
We’re immediately reminded of a smokey log fire with s’mores and chestnuts roasting. Giving this a little air brings our Pepsi cola, cherries, salt, and Islay sea breeze.
This opens with intense smoke it’s like drinking a log burning fire, but it’s balanced perfectly with sweeter notes such as vanilla marshmallows, and Cadbury’s caramel. There’s also some HP brown sauce mixed with sugar. It’s a touch hot, with a little pepper bite.
Nose (with water)
Water has dissipated some of the smoke, The caramel sweetness remains, but you now also get a more pronounced sherry influence with more chocolate and red fruits.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate is less hot and peppery, but the classic Kilchoman sweetness and smokiness really shining through. Good length finish with sweet caramelised sugar akin to a toffee apple lingering on the palate before a little salt hit the end.
This is a delicious dram for peat lovers. It’s good neat, but we’d recommend a splash of water just to take off a little of the heat, and open it up.
- 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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