Alright, let’s close out PX cask Kilchoman week with another cask bottled for the American market. As a reminder, all three of this week’s reviews have been Kilchomans distilled in 2015 from the distillery’s own barley, peated to 20 ppm, and then matured in PX sherry hogsheads—one for 5 years and two for six years. Cask 772—which I reviewed on Monday—was released in Germany; Cask 773—which I reviewed on Wednesday—was split between Canadian and American parties. Today’s cask was bottled for a store and a whisky club in California. It’s bottled at a slightly less eye-watering strength: 58% to the other two’s 60.2%. Despite their identical strength, though, casks 772 and 773 were from identical. Indeed, I did not care for 772 very much: too much oak; 773, on the other hand, was a more balanced affair, even if it couldn’t finally transcend its youth. I am curious to see what Cask 329 will be like. Let’s get to it.
Kilchoman 6, 2015 (58%; PX Cask 329; from a bottle split)
Nose: Closer to Cask 773 than 772 with phenolic smoke mixed with salt and green pepper. Earthier still on the second sniff even as some citrus begins to emerge (dried tangerine peel). Gets more coastal with every sniff (brine, kelp) and there’s some ham cure mixed in there too. A squirt of water unlocks some red fruit and some softer notes of toffee and butterscotch. The citrus peel moves in the direction of apricot jam
Palate: Pretty much as indicated by the nose at first but a fair bit of sour oak rises up as I swallow. Approachable at full strength with decent texture. A little sweeter on subsequent sips; the earthy notes from the nose aren’t really in much evidence here. More pepper as it goes and also some char from the oak. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. Ah yes, much better now: the oak is pushed back, the smoke becomes ashy and there’s more of the citrus.
Finish: Long. The smoke gets ashier and there’s a bit of sherry separation which thankfully resolves soon. A truckload of salt at the very end. More oak presence here too with time and the black pepper turns to chilli pepper. As on the palate with water. Big notes of cigarette ash on the last few sips.
Comments: This started off very promisingly on the nose but the palate and finish were not quite at that level. Not as much oak here as in Cask 772 though and water improves things, bringing it closer to Cask 773. I’d put it in the middle of those two.
Rating: 85 points.