There are some distilleries out there where we just know that the products are all talk and no action. Where the marketing department is more active than the casks and the accountants hold more sway with the board than the production department.
For other distilleries they don’t have adverts on mainstream TV or paid sponsorships of Formula One Grand Prix’s. Yet, everyone who buys whisky regularly or considers themselves knowledgeable about the subject knows who they are and what they produce. Where Macallan might be an example of the first group, Kilchoman is a member of the latter. Ok, they don’t have the sales figures of the former group but neither do they have the units to shift each quarter to meet shareholder expectations.
Kilchoman have been producing whisky and growing a loyal customer base for just over a decade. They produce heavily peated whisky from an expanding distillery on a farm quite near to Bruichladdich on the western side of the island.
Back at the end of 2015 just in time for Christmas Kilchoman released their first ever seven year old whisky. This 2008 vintage was an all ex-bourbon matured release of a few 10’s of thousand bottles which were each priced at just under £70. Some are even still available for sale like at the Whisky Exchange for their original RRP.
Like all Kilchoman releases it is natural colour and unchill filtered and bottled at 46% which is the minimum strength for Kilchoman. I am just trying this whisky for the first time after trying 2018 version of Macir Bay and Sanaig so it might be interesting to come from this in the opposite direction to (probably) all the other bloggers on the internet.
Colour – straw yellow
Nose – citric lemon rinds burst out of the glass. Classic sweet Kilchoman peat smoke is there of course with its sea breeze briney notes but also honey and vanilla from an ex-bourbon cask.
Palate – The palate is sweet initially but turns sour and slightly bitter. There are prickles of heat from the spices and boisterous spirit fighting for your attention. The experience is pretty raw and powerful with cracked black pepper given a level of depth.
Finish – The finish is long and lingering with the taste of smoky peat lasting a great deal of time. There is more of the brine coastal influence which is so classically kilchoman.
The one thing I couldn’t help but notice here is that I enjoy the much cheaper and ongoing releases better than this one. I know there is a lot of passionate reviews out there waxing lyrical about this angelic bottle but for me its just too singular and raw.
I am sure Macir Bay is still available for around £35 in places and is simply a better and more flavoursome dram at nearly half the price. Vintage 2008 is a good very peaty youthy and vibrant dram and shouldn’t be turned down if offered. Using your own money though the regular expressions represent far better value for money.