After having reviewed only eight KIlchomans over the first seven and a half years of the blog’s life, I reviewed another five in the first half of this year. Let’s get that count up even higher by starting November with another pair of Kilchomans. First up is a multi-vintage vatting released in 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary of the distillery’s founding. This contains spirit distilled from 2012 to 2005. It couldn’t have any from the vintages after 2012, of course, because by law Scotch whisky has to be at least three years old. The oldest whisky in the vatting was 10 years old and indeed this includes spirit from the first cask ever filled at the distillery. The cask types are a mix of bourbon and sherry but I’m not sure what the mix is or what the proportions of the various vintages is. And while I’m listing things I’m not sure of, I also don’t know if this ever came to the US—the distillery’s page indicates it was meant to be on sale at the distillery only. At any rate, here are my notes.
Kilchoman 10th Anniversary Release (58.2%; from a bottle split)
Nose: A big blast of carbolic peat with some green olives and some hot green peppers mixed in too. Lemon and cereals emerge from below on the second sniff. With time there’s quite a bit of salt as well along with some wet stones. With time the phenols recede a fair bit and some vanilla emerges. With a few drops of water the vanilla merges with the lemon and turns to lemon curd and there’s some muskier fruit as well in the background (charred pineapple).
Palate: Comes in with a fair bit of char and pepper and then the phenolic smoke expands as I swallow. Also comes in with a pretty big bite at full strength; the texture is quite full. With time the phenols develop some bitter notes—somewhere between vegetal and inky. With more time still there’s some lemon and the salt expands. Okay, let’s add water. More lemon still now and more pepper mixed in with the smoke, which is now more charred than phenolic.
Finish: Long. The smoke builds and takes over with the pepper and salt emerging again as it fades. Develops as on the palate. As on the palate with water as well with some sweetness developing late.
Comments: This is a very nice and very drinkable peated whisky. As with so much Kilchoman, it is very good for its age. I don’t know that it’s very much more than that unless you are a Kilchoman aficionado. I didn’t get too much sign of the sherry casks here. And I liked the nose better with water and the palate better neat (which would pose a conundrum if I had the rest of the bottle).
Rating: 86 points.