Kilchoman 9, 2011, STR Finish, for Drammers

STR = Shaved, Toasted, Re-charred, if you’re wondering (as I was before I looked it up). I’m sure there’s a good reason why a cask would be toasted and re-charred but I don’t know what that is. In this case, it’s a shaved, toasted and re-charred ex-red wine cask and the whisky was finished in it for 19 months after 7+ years of maturation in a bourbon barrel. It was then bottled for the New York whisky club, Drammers. All of this information is from the excellent Kilchomania, by the way. I liked Monday’s red wine-bothered Kilchoman a lot more than I was expecting to. Of course, that was a full-term red wine maturation and this one is just a finish, but I am hopeful nonetheless. I assume the shaving, toasting and re-charring removes a lot of the red wine influence? If so, hopefully there won’t be much, if any wine separation—just as there wasn’t in the full-term matured whisky. And perhaps the longer maturation time—this is almost twice the age of Monday’s whisky—will give it more depth and development as well. Well, let’s see.

Kilchoman 9, 2011 (53.4%; STR finish for Drammers; from a bottle split)

Nose: Peat off the top here too, as you’d expect, but it’s not as phenolic as Monday’s whisky. Here there’s vegetal notes mixed in with the phenols and there’s a distinct mezcal crossover happening. Not a whole lot of sign of the red wine here either. With each sniff it gets sweeter with a fair bit of vanilla emerging. A few drops of water and the smoke gets ashier and there’s some pepper too; still quite a lot of vanilla.

Palate: None of the mezcal-like notes here as it comes in with more tar in the smoke. Approachable at full strength; decent texture. With subsequent sips there’s some citrus as well. On the whole, though, the different notes don’t add up to anything very interesting. With more time, the vanilla pops out faster but it’s all still pretty indistinctive. Okay, let’s if water does anything for it. It brightens it up: there’s some acid and the smoke is drier/ashier here too now.

Finish: Long. The tar lingers and the vanilla from the nose emerges to join it. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Blind, I would not have thought red wine had ever been involved. Well, I suppose that with the toasting and re-charring, I should have known there was a good chance there would be a lot of vanilla. There is a lot of vanilla. A whisky I would not turn down a second pour of but nothing very interesting is happening here. I liked it a bit better with water.

Rating: 83 points.



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