Kilchoman Tequila Finish 53.4%

It has been a while since I sat down and properly tasted a Kilchoman… in truth, I don’t think even once since meeting Kilchoman’s charming founder Anthony Willis in the Spirited Stories tent at The Vault Biennale. I will fully admit to a certain fondness for Kilchoman – in part as this Islay distillery is part of the ‘new generation’ of distilleries who have proven with an eye to quality and artistry, you don’t need to wait more than a decade to produce a fine dram.

So what did we think of Anthony’s experiment with Tequila? Did it need salt and lime to knock back as a shot? Or favour an extra anejo? Or reveal little to no influence of the agave finish at all?

Kilchoman 8 year (11 Dec 2012 / 15 Nov 2021) Bourbon Cask No 824/2012, Tequila Finish 53.4% (50 PPM) TWE Exclusive, Bottle 147 of 267

  • Nose – Ripe mushy bananas, a fruity sour mash, leafy and a bit vegetal, saline with light hint of smoke, we even speculated if there was a touch of black salt? However the more time it spent in the glass, the more it opened up… shifting into candied red apples, marshmallows, then more tropical fruits
  • Palate – Unmistakable peat and sweet, powerful yet exceedingly well balanced, chewy with a good mouthfeel, some pepper and sweet spices, perhaps a bit of that agave element subtly peaking through
  • Finish – Sweet red cinnamon candies, followed by a nice agave finish
  • Water – Not necessary but holds well with a splash, becoming more herbal

So…. does the tequila work? Yes… as it has only a subtle influence rather than being very pronounced unbalancing the other elements. And that was the success here – everything in perfect harmony – sweet and salt, peat and sweet, spice and herb – all working together.

What more do we know? As usual, Kilchoman peats to 50 PPM and in this case used an ex-Bourbon cask for 8 years before finishing for approx 8 months in an ex-Tequila cask. It reminded me why Kilchoman has made its mark – there is no dramatic heavy peat here – instead, the peat provides a lovely interplay with the other cask elements.

I noted down the official tasting notes from the bottle:

  • Nose – Malted hay and tropical fruit sweetness
  • Palate – Herbacsious with layers of fresh fruits and burst of agave
  • Finish – Waves of agave freshness with soft sweet peat

In large part, I would agree with the notes… however, personally found the peat more pronounced on the palate with the agave much more subtle.

Talisker, Kilchoman, Stauning

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La Maison du Whisky, Singapore

Most trips to Singapore with a bit of time include a stop at La Maison du Whisky for an enjoyable hour spent chatting, sampling and slowly deciding which whisky will make the final ‘cut’ for the journey home to Mumbai.

This June 2015 trip was no exception.

La Maison du Whisky, Singapore (Whisky Lady)

La Maison du Whisky, Singapore (Whisky Lady)

Over the years, the gents there have gained a sense of what we enjoy, what will peak our interest and also what we’ve managed to acquire by other means.

  • Last trip, I showed a spreadsheet tracking our tasting sessions
  • This trip, I could happily show this blog record of our sampling adventures

I’ve shared before how much I appreciate a chance to discover, discuss, sniff and sip before making a final purchasing choice. I prefer to take my time, so deliberately pop by late afternoon when there is more ‘trade traffic’ than ‘customer traffic.’ After all, it isn’t such a bad place to hang around and invariably those that do wander in will lead to an interesting conversational turn or two about a shared passion – whisky and fine spirits.

Our goal this time was:

  • Something that cannot be so easily obtained in London far cheaper… given that I would shortly be traveling there
  • No repeats of previous whiskies
  • At least one in the more mature and complex range
  • As always, an unpredictable ‘twist’ is appreciated

I shared how we enjoyed the Ledaig from an earlier trip and confessed we hadn’t yet opened the one selected late 2014 as it was trumped by my Japanese quartet from Tokyo.

Diego started with a rum, just because he recalled that the Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo tequila was such a hit!

Clarin Vaval 52.5% – Small batch Haiti clear rum from Cavallon village, double distilled from ‘Madame Meuze’ cane sugar in 2013. It was a delightful discovery with overripe fruit, hot, tropical and distinctly different. It was like sunshine in a bottle.

Clarin Vaval (Whisky Lady)

Clarin Vaval (Whisky Lady)

We then moved on to two Compass Box whiskies:

Glasgow Blend (Whisky Lady)

Glasgow Blend (Whisky Lady)

We discussed several other whiskies – including suggestions for my London ‘wish list’. I was sorely tempted by this Hazelburn 8 year 1st bottling…

Hazelburn 8 year (Whisky Lady)

Hazelburn 8 yr (Whisky Lady)

In addition to the whiskies sampled, I’ll admit to sniffing more before finalising my selection for this trip…

What did I pick?

It was the Bunnahabhain 26 years.. part of a special Signatory Session held in February 2016:

Previous reviews sourced via La Maison du Whisky Singapore:

La Maison du Whisky is located at 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-10 The Pier, Singapore
 Tel: 6733 0059

Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo 40%

While Whisky Lady was created to celebrate sampling whiskies, every once and a while I come across something that is just too exceptional – it deserves sharing even if it isn’t whisky!

I should start by confessing, I’m generally not a tequila drinker. Shots aren’t my thing. Neither are margaritas, daiquiri, etc… To top it off, nights where tequila is involved have a tendency to end strangely.

However on a trip through Singapore last year, I challenged the great guys at La Maison du Whisky to suggest something entirely different for our Mumbai whisky sampling gang.

Out came this remarkable tequila… I had a few sips and could not resist!

Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo 40%

  • Colour – Burnished copper
  • Nose – Herbs, clean, turmeric, sweet… as it opened up with air even more sweet notes joined the choir – vanilla, stewed fruits, salty almonds
  • Taste – Bitter medicinal, briny sea salt, wet forest, undertone of dark chocolate
  • Finish – Peppery, buttery, spicy yet smooth

It was without a doubt, the real ‘googly’ of the evening for my whisky quaffing companions.

All expected another whisky, so when I brought out for blind tasting an ‘extra anejo’ – tequila matured in bourbon barrels – palates were pre-calibrated to anticipate whisky. The colour could almost pass as whisky… naturally our resident expert caught on however I gave him ‘the look’ to not spill the beans and instead let others discover without influence.

An exceptional tequila in a class of its own – 100% agave anejo from Carlos Camarena of the La Altena distillery using traditional production methods with brick ovens, wooden vats and copper stills. This extra anejo is aged for around four years – making it one of the oldest tequilas on the market.

I pulled out a premium blue agave to compare – clearly proving just how different it is from its brethren!


It really is something else and exactly the kind of tequila which appeals to whisky aficionados!

I first shared this special find with our whisky tasting team on 14 June 2014 together with Tyrconnell, Ledaig 1997 and Talisker Dark Storm.

It occasionally gets pulled out again for the appreciation of a few extra special true tequila lovers… As I do not expect to source another bottle of this rare find… will continue to be stingy about sharing for as long as it lasts!

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