Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Packing Real Punch - Kilchoman Original Cask Strength

Kilchoman Original Cask 
Determined to ensure I have fulfilled my Dramcember obligations here is another short post on a whisky that will make you tuck into Islay’s youngest distillery. That is of course unless you already have tasted the fruits of their 10 years of labour.

Kilchoman Distillery is not an unfamiliar brand as far as our club is concerned. We have followed progress over the last few years ever since they started heading out to Australia  promoting their new product. Our original encounter was back in 2010 followed by, 2012, 2014, and then 2015. We as a club have had mixed reviews on this distilleries efforts. These reviews are a testament not only to our inexperience in dealing with younger whiskies, something that is now much more refined, but also a distillery finding its feet in positioning, marketing and of course product. I can recollect even back the first time I met founder Anthony (to really paraphrase now from early notes) he spoke about how they knew it was a good spirit but where it was to go in the next few years would be interesting. Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending another Kilchoman masterclass but this time with Peter Willis, son to the founder Anthony Wills. Not only has Peter brought a much more energetic and vibrant touch to the marketing but, in the whisky I have detected in all certainty a extremely mature development in where Kilchoman now stand and I love it.

There are some fantastic releases now on the table from Kilchoman and for me most notably it is the Kilchoman Original Cask Strength. According to Peter this is the whisky his father, Anthony, wanted to make but until recent times the distillery could not spare the spirit. Cask strength always puts a heavy strain on a distillery as it means less bottles sold. The upside is that the whisky is being released straight from the cask which is as pure as it is going to get. Distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2014 what we are tasting here is the first release of great things to come.

Kilchoman Original Cask Strength Single Malt
Distillery: Kilchoman Distillery
Location / Region: Islay, Scotland
ABV: 59.2%
PPM: 50ppm
Batch Release: distilled 2009, bottled 2014
Wood: Ex-Bourbon American Oak

Nose: Explosive citrus fruits, vibrant rich young peat with caramelised pineapple bubbling on an outdoor charcoal fire on a cold night. Gets a little wet doggy after a sip or two that just adds to the complexity. and where would Islay whisky be without that element of wet dog and bog marsh.

Taste: Oily thick cereal malt mouthfeel that continues to display ashy pineapple fruits and honey textures.

Finish: Bracing & lengthy delivering malt & ash that lingers before spice tingles drying to sweet fruits. A bit of bees wax and honey develop in the mouth. This will linger in the mouth a good half hour after tasting.

Overall extremely excitable and doubly complex packing real punch. These are not subtle complexities either as there is a true assault on the senses. I find it very moorish and makes me wanting for more. If I was to give a dram a true 6.25 out of 7. The cask strength on the nose is subdued by the youth but the flavour is just as explosive as expected.

This release is extremely limited but certainly something to make a point to try when you can. Other Kilchomans to experience now is the more rounded signature whisky Machir Bay, the 100% ex-sherry matured Loch Gorm, and the new 100% Islay releases using barley grown and malted on Islay.

Happy Dramcember from The Baron