As usual, we tasted blind. However, as it was a trilogy, our host kept the identity of all three whiskies secret until after we sampled the last. First up for our tasting pleasure was the bourbon cask…
Kilchoman Bourbon Single Cask Trilogy 60.5% (LMDW)
Single Cask #260 (6.5.2010/31.8.2015) Bottle 194 /267
- Colour – Bright straw
- Nose – When first poured, an unmistakable peat which then settled down to reveal sweet fruit, meat like glazed ham and pineapple, a bit vegetal. The smoke softened in a heavy not sharp way, a little sweet medical camphor, almost detol like, then the freshness of green capsicum, a deeper earthy element. Finally after much airing, a sweet basil and mint emerged with sacred ash on the surface and cinnamon candy peaking beneath… when revisited much later, the nose was spicy sweet with sour curd
- Palate – Sweet, tingly, peat yet a different smoke that your typical Islay, initially sharp it then mellowed without losing its strength and character, a little ‘life buoy soap’ and ‘big red’ cinnamon chewing gum, pepper spice on the lips, tending towards a punjabi style ’tikka’
- Finish – Warm and spicy
- Water – Some thought it was ‘dying’ for water, others not. Those that added found it brought out a bitter chocolate quality, a nice spice to savour. Finally after opening up over time, yeasty baked bread and bacon notes came out!
While clearly cask strength, it was a bit thin and hadn’t yet gathered the oils from the wood, so had the sense of possibly being younger.
As we discussed the possible mood or setting to best enjoy this dram, comments were:
- Too complex for a bar, more like a special date with someone to test if s/he can appreciate such a whisky. “If you don’t get this whisky, you don’t make the cut for a next date!”
- Or a more contemplative evening solo, as there is an oddly meditative quality more reminiscent of a temple than night on the town.
Did we appreciate this whisky? Certainly. It was hard not to be captivated by the different elements. This isn’t a friendly neighbourhood whisky. It is a bit more intellectual and requires you to pay attention to understand it.
So what do the folks over at La Maison du Whisky have to say (translated from French) about this Kilchoman whisky?
Particularly sunny, this version aged in bourbon casks perfectly encapsulates the precise and balanced style so characteristic of Kilchoman single malts. While the notes of peat and smoke are omnipresent, they leave their mark with great elegance while setting the tone for things to come. This thoroughly subtle influence enables the whisky to gain in olfactory and gustatory power that is both nuanced and perfectly mastered. A work of art!
Profile: Peat and smoke coated in lemony scents. It becomes increasingly voluptuous (rice pudding, tangerine jam).
Not sure I would describe it as ‘voluptuous’ but it certainly was a good way to kick off our tasting session!
Next up in our Kilchoman Trilogy evening:
- Pedro Ximenez Single Cask Trilogy 58.4%
- Sherry Single Cask Trilogy 60.6%
- Kilchoman pairing quandary*
*Notes coming soon!
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