The last of the four Abbey Whisky releases I’m doing currently. So far all’s been good and I’m doubting whether or not I’ve seen such consistent quality in a series of private releases recently.
Also, I’m doing the third Kilchoman in a short while, which is also more Kilchoman than I’ve ever tasted in six weeks. Ever. I know a couple of guys who are absolutely smitten with Kilchoman and think it’s more or less the best thing since the invention of the sandwich, but I’m not in their team. I do think they do a remarkably good job with such young spirit, but it’s not all gold and glory. Like the Port Cask Matured which completely fell apart after a little while in the bottle with some oxygen.
Anyway, I think it’s kind of risky that they finished an only 5 year old whisky in PX casks, since PX casks can easily overpower a whisky. On the other hand, when it’s only five years old it’s still pretty rough and fierce, so it might actually be smarter to do this than with a 35 year old gentle giant.
VERY leathery at the first sniff. I already love it. There’s furniture polish and wax coats. It’s salty like the harbor of Port Ellen, with some fishing ships, tar and smoke. Quite some smoke to be more precise. Still quite gentle though. I find it very Lagavulin-y.
The smoke is rather greasy and soft. It doesn’t taste all that young, which is a good thing I think. Leather and wax again and comparable to the nose. It starts off gently but builds slowly to a much stronger dram. Slightly drying and I do get some flavors of lychee, and sherry. The sherry is much more prominent than it was on the nose.
The finish is gentle and long, slightly spicy with the greasy smoke picking up to barbecue levels. I get pork crackling (I wouldn’t know what other kind, but still) and smoke.
Let’s be short about this. If there is a Kilchoman you buy this year, make it this one. It’s such an incredibly rich dram with all kinds of very old fashioned, posh flavors. Those posh flavors have a background of fierce smoke and some spices so it nicely mingles a gentleman’s club with a peat bog. Which is great. The sherry works well for those leathery flavors and is done very well. Even though it’s a PX cask it’s never overpowering and not even that prominent most of the time.
An absolutely great whisky. In every aspect. It’s bold and powerful but never ridiculously so. A beast, but a kind one. On the wish list…
Kilchoman 2009-2014, 5 years old, PX finish, 58.3%, Exclusive for Abbey Whisky. Available from Abbey Whisky for £ 77.95 (€ 100)
Thanks to Abbey Whisky for the sample!