By Richard Thomas
That an eight year old whisky is the oldest single malt ever released by Kilchoman for global distribution ought to tell you a lot about how young the distillery is, especially for a distillery on the fabled island of Islay. When Kilchoman went operational in 2005, it was the first new distillery built on Islay in 124 years.
In addition to being the oldest general release, the 2009 Vintage was also drawn from a mix of bourbon and Sherry casks, whereas all previous Vintage releases (not Kilchoman in general, just Vintage) were exclusively ex-bourbon barrel stock. The resulting whisky was bottled at a relatively strong 46% ABV.
The whisky has the color of pale straw in the glass. Coating the glass revealed fan-like clusters of thick tears.
The nose has a thin cloud of smoke permeating it, but at it’s center is an intertwined combination of toasted cereals and malty honey, plus a pinch of cinnamon. On the palette, that whiff of smoke grows into ash, while the cinnamon turns hot and the toasty cereals become toasted buttermilk white bread. The finish starts ashy, but fades away fast.
This is certainly the most flavorful opinion I’ve had of a Kilchoman. Although not a big, ballsy and flavorful whisky, it’s certainly able enough, it makes good use of Islay’s characteristic peat, and it shows sound balance.
$100 in the US and £56 in the UK.