Kilchoman Islay Pipe Band 2016 Release (Cask 689/2011) & Kilchoman Club 12th Edition (Blanc De Blancs Casks Finish)


Kicking off the week with a few releases from Kilchoman distillery. 

Kilchoman Islay Pipe Band 2016 Release (Cask 689/2011)

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.5%

Price: £85.00 (Auction)

This release from Kilchoman holds a special significance as it celebrates their sponsorship of the Islay Pipe Band. Released during Feis Ile 2016, the whisky was distilled on 11th November 2011 and matured in a bourbon cask until its bottling on 11th May 2016. A limited run of 272 bottles was made available.

Nose

There’s a substantial amount of peat here, which is unsurprising given the age. With the prominent note being cigar ash. This is followed by cracked black pepper, Pornstar Martini's, TCP, sugar syrup, strawberry syrup, and orange marmalade, with undercurrents of dry earth and rice crackers. The nose doesn't show off its substantial ABV.

Palate

The palate delivers a pleasing hit of peat, complemented by flavours of smoked bacon, seaweed, saltwater, and earth. There's a hint of dark chocolate bitterness, which is not at all unpleasant. Notes of icing sugar, bergamot, and orange juice also emerge after some time and air. The finish is slightly spicy, yet the sweetness and peaty ash linger for a medium length before the spice takes over. The mouthfeel has a hint of oiliness which is nice.

Nose (with water)

With the addition of water, the whisky has noticeably lost a lot of its peatiness, giving way to predominant notes of warehouse funk and burning rubber. Lurking behind these are notes of smoked paprika, cracked black pepper, oats, tobacco, smoked butter, miso, and orange peel.

Palate (with water)

Upon adding water, the whisky reveals an increase in spice and bitterness. Similar to the changes observed in the nose, there is a reduction in the peatiness. The sweetness now leans towards a saccharine quality, complemented by a hint of honey. The mouthfeel continues to be fine, and the finish retains its medium length. Our preference, though, is without water.

Conclusion

We tend to favour younger Kilchoman releases, and this particular bottling further reinforces our preference. It’s maybe a touch simple but that doesn’t stop it from being a lovely dram. It’s an easy 8/10.

Score: 8/10

Value

Regrettably, this whisky is now only obtainable through auctions, which means finding it at a low price is unlikely.


Kilchoman Club 12th Edition (Blanc De Blancs Casks Finish)

Region: Islay

ABV: 54.1%

Price: £85.00 

The 12th club release from Kilchoman involved a vatting of two casks distilled in 2016. These were first matured in bourbon barrels and later transferred to ex-Blanc de Blancs wine casks for a 14-month finish. A total of 522 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose offers aromas of melted butter, green apples, and green grapes, complemented by a subtle hint of vinegar. The smoke is present but remains in the background. Upon revisiting, notes of maize, corn, butteries, and chlorine emerge. If we’re being honest we have to admit we wouldn’t have guessed this was Kilchoman.

Palate

The palate begins with a hint of dead ash, evolving into burnt caramel, lemon Bon Bons, and green grapes, culminating in a sweet chilli spice towards the finish. The finish is lengthy, yet it's ruined by a fleeting unpleasant note, which one taster described as something sickly. The mouthfeel, however, has a somewhat oily quality.

Nose (with water)

The addition of water has brought out pepper corn spice along with some fresh pears, green apples, and freshly picked strawberries. The peat is minimal now, leaning more towards a musty quality. Going back and we notice a subtle note of caramelised brown sugar.

Palate (with water)

Adding water, unfortunately, doesn't eliminate the off-note we're detecting. It does, however, introduce flavours of grapefruit, dark chocolate, and iced finger buns filled with sweet cream, with a hint of dead ash lingering in the background. The mouthfeel holds up, and the finish is now medium length, but we can’t push past that off note.

Conclusion

If we’re being honest this is probably our least favourite Kilchoman release. The dram is a little one dimensional, and that off-note really ruins our enjoyment. We’re going with a 5/10.

Score: 5/10

Value

Islay whisky isn’t cheap and this release didn’t buck that trend.

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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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