Apparently, young Islay whiskies are ridiculously popular. As I said a short while ago I’m having trouble spending a wad of cash on Kilchoman, since it stings a little bit that I’m shelling out for a three year old. However, most of them are pretty good so when this one came out and I was already toying with a Peat & Port bottle share, it fit right in.
To my understanding the release of this bottle was only last week and it has already sold out everywhere, so it appears I am one of the few not readily spending a hundred bucks on a three year old whisky that might not be all that.
I’ve already spotted someone on Whiskybase trying to flip it and making a quick 40 euros, since it’s on the marketplace there. Luckily, I’m here to try it. To see how it ranks to yesterday’s Longrow (which I thought was pretty damn fine!).
Anyway, I saw a review recently that this was matured instead of finished in a port cask. That was heralded as some sort of boon for this whisky. However, since this baby is only three years old I’m willing to argue that most finishes last longer than this maturation has!
It’s a lot more peaty on the nose than the Longrow, but also very earthy. More towards damp soil and a peat bog than mushrooms and leaves though. There’s also old oak and dunnage warehouses. I’m having trouble getting the telltale fruitiness here. The more typical Kilchoman salinity and sharpness are present. After a couple of minutes some berries come through.
The palate starts off with fizzy strawberry lemonade. I don’t think I’ve ever had that in a whisky! Then the alcohol comes rushing in to catch up. The peat is not as pronounced on the nose, but there is a lot of oak going on. The fruit cannot be held back and the strawberries are joined by red berries, and maybe some raspberry. As in, I get some fresh acidity. Quite syrupy, too.
The finish swings the other way. There’s a mountain of peat, lots of oak. Salt, some brine and sand, a lot more coastal than expected. After all that the fruits comes back a bit but nowhere near as on the palate. Pretty long, but rather simple.
What to think of this one? It’s pretty good, that’s for sure. I just don’t think it can trump the ‘pretty good’ level. It’s a tad inconsistent and the port and spirit don’t seem to have married all that well. It’s a bit wobbly between the nose, palate and finish. First only smoke, then lots of fruit, then back to the smoke again with almost no fruit.
It’s a very likeable whisky, but I’m glad I didn’t choose this one as the Kilchoman to start spending on. I prefer the Longrow, and with that I’m (sort of) keeping € 35 in my pocket. It’s just a bit too young I think, but I also wouldn’t be too thrilled to leave this for more years to see what happens then. Maybe a cleaner port cask? Cleaner, as in, rinsed better or so.
Kilchoman Port Cask Matured, 55%, 2011-2014, 3yo. Pretty hard to get by now, and the prices are climbing fast.