Little under a decade ago I was about to move to Krommenie, and my wife went on a short holiday with her sister. Which resulted in me finally finding the time to drive to Sint Oedenrode and visit The Old Pipe with my friends TT.
I had been collecting some bottles that needed picking up and paying for. This one, honestly, was one of the least interesting ones, even though it was the very first ‘whisky’ from Kilchoman ever to be tried. The others were OB Brora’s from 1974, and two 1981 Rosebanks from the Rare Malts series. This one got lost in that violence.
But, after a long while I finally opened my bottle and only this week I finished it. The bottle has long been recycled, but I still had a sample of it lying around which, as with these samples of the last few weeks, I had completely forgotten.
Since 2009 I’ve tried numerous Kilchomans, which isn’t hard since the distillery is rather prolific, with loads of strange casks coming from it. Of course, the sherry and bourbon casks are the best (imho), but there’s a market for anything from Islay, and they need the cash flow, so who can blame them.
Quite smoky, with lots of barley and brine. Very coastal, and very Islay-like. Lots of straw and dry grass, lots of sand, lots of salinity.
The palate is not too sharp, but you do taste the youthfulness of this first release of Kilchoman. Very grassy, lowlands-like, but with a significant amount of peatsmoke. So, typical for Islay, I’d say. The smoke is a little bit sharp, but there’s barley and salinity to give it a bit of depth.
The finish has a flavor of “a dying bonfire on a beach”. So, charcoal, salt, brine, sand, oak, fire and smoke.
It’s pretty promising (and we’ve seen by now this is not wrong), but still too young and not with enough depth. I would never have guessed this was a sherry finish, because even that doesn’t come through.
Strangely, even for a promising like this, it is only promising since it is only three years old. Apart from that it’s rather underwhelming. Currently only available through the secondary market, for about € 200, I honestly would have expected a higher price tag since it’s a first, of a whole line of new distilleries.
Kilchoman 2006-2009, 3yo, Inaugural Release, Oloroso Sherry Finish, 46%
A piece of Islay history! It’s amazing how this distillery has developed. They’re one of my faves these days!
I’d love to try that!
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