This is one of K&L’s exclusive bottlings of Kilchoman and therefore THE GREATEST WHISKY FROM THE GREATEST DISTILLERY EVER! Well, I don’t know what Driscoll actually said about it as I don’t really read him regularly anymore—you can let me know if I’m very far off the mark.
Michael K., the depraved bastard who writes Diving for Pearls, proposed a bottle split of this some time ago. I’d completely forgotten about it till I got to Los Angeles and then he accused me of trying to renege on the deal and it got kind of ugly. Anyway, as recompense I had to agree to simul-review this, and I believe Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail is also doing one. So, after reading this you should go to their blogs and see exactly how they got it wrong. I’ll provide the links once I have them. As always, we won’t see each others’ reviews till they go up.
This is from a single bourbon cask. Later this month I’ll be reviewing a single sherry cask Kilchoman that was also exclusive to K&L, and then a PX finish for a Dutch bottler.
Kilchoman 5, 2008 (58.4%; single bourbon cask #74; for K&L; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: A big bright wallop of peat. Clean and sharp. Very medicinal with lots of gauze bandages etc. but also a lot of lemon and then a bit of paraffin. The lemon takes a turn towards citronella and there’s some brine as well. With a bit more time there’s a floral note too, but not in a perfumed way (like taking a close sniff at a marigold); a bit sweeter too now. The citronella expands with water and now there’s some vanilla too.
Palate: Starts off exactly as on the nose with clean, sharp, medicinal, lemony peat. More smoke on the palate, slightly ashy, slightly peppery. No mezcal’ish notes, which is good. Gets sweeter with time but also tarrier. Very drinkable at full strength (though it does pack a punch) but let’s add water. Much sweeter and less peppery with water.
Finish: Medium-long. The smoke keeps building but it’s never very intense. Some wet stones as well. The pepper emerges again at the end. The finish gets longer with water and the smoke gets more charred/sweet.
Comments: Very good young peaty whisky of its type. They say Kilchoman quite consciously wants to focus on young whisky. That might be a pragmatic decision at some level, but if this is representative, they know what they’re doing. There’s no complexity to speak of but there are no real flaws either (except maybe that odd floral thing I got on the nose). I may have added too much/little water but I liked it better without.
Rating: 86 points.