Today we're looking at two releases from Kilchoman distillery, a single cask distillery exclusive as well as a larger batch release from late 2021.
Kilchoman Madeira Cask (2021)
This release was distilled in May 2016 from barley peated to 50ppm. It was matured for 5 Years and 3 months in 49 fresh Madeira hogheads before being bottled at 50% ABV in August 2021. 17,000 bottles were released.
Initially on the nose we’re getting some cracked black pepper, melted butter on burnt toast, slight note of orange peel, and some ash. Going back to it and we’re getting more fruit, specifically some peaches and plums. The smoke is well integrated with the sweeter notes.
Unexpectedly the first note we’re getting is sweet vanilla followed by a big hit of citrus. These are followed by some bonfire smoke, some lavender and warm peppery notes. There’s a backbone of floral notes on the palate that reminds us of musk sticks (Australian candy). It’s nice but it tastes a touch hot even at 50%. This has a medium finish with faint smokey notes lingering on the palate, along with some warm pepper spice.
Nose (with water)
Normal we find a touch of water will tame the smoke, but here we’re finding the water has highlighted it instead. The pepper and warm melted butter has now disappeared and we’re getting a hint of vanilla pods, and darker red fruits such as blackberries.
Palate (with water)
Unlike the reduced nose, where water highlighted the peat, we’re finding the water has diminished the peat on the palate. It also tames the heat some what, but maybe not quite enough for us, as by the time we finished a dram we found ourselves with a touch of heartburn. Palate has gained a nice dark chocolate note along with some red fruits.
If we’re being honest while we enjoy Kilchoman we’ve found some of the more recent releases are a touch disappointing when compared with older releases. This is a solid dram, but we’ve had better drams from the distillery. When combined with the price, which is a touch high, we have to give this a 7.5/10.
Kilchoman Mezcal Finish 2012 (Cask #827)
This release was distilled December 2012, and matured for 8 years in a bourbon barrel before being finished for 8 months in a mezcal cask and bottled August 2021. 242 bottles were sold exclusively at the distillery shop.
Really interesting nose on this. It opens with a musty warehouse funkiness that if we were nosing blind we would have identified as having come from Sauternes cask maturation. After the funk we’re getting some oak, a little lime, citrus and of course smoke. Nosing it again and theres some sweet sugar syrup, vanilla, and salt.
Like the nose we’re getting some citrus and lime in the form of rose lime cordial. A little mint, and some Manuka honey, There’s a floral note here along with some agave syrup. Quite smokey on the palate, but the peat seems intertwined with herbal notes like someone has burnt some mixed herbs in a pan.
Nose (with water)
On the reduced nose there’s now some oat cakes, and vanilla essence. Smoke has been tamed slightly and mustiness is also receding into the background allowing more of the sweeter notes to shine.
Palate (with water)
Similar to the reduced nose we’re finding the smoke has receded and now instead of herbal smoke we’re getting a note of basil. There’s definitely more of a tequila taste with water. There’s also some lavender, and sweet sugar syrup. There’s also a beefy note that’s appeared in the background. Sweet sugary finish on this with faint smoke, and a little ash.
We really enjoy this. It has a really funkiness from the mezcal cask finish and it makes us really excited to see what other distilleries will be able to do with this cask type or what a full maturation Kilchoman would taste like. Much like today’s other Kilchoman release this is a touch expensive, but it’s so good we’re giving it an 8/10.
- 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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