Four years ago I bought samples of almost all Feis Ile bottlings, along with some samples from the Campbeltown Festival. This is not one of those cases where I completely forgot about the samples and found them again, but mostly when I want to ‘taste’ a whisky instead of just drinking one, I don’t really go for these high strength drams all too quickly.
Therefore I took my sweet time before I got around to it, and of the set there are some others left. Not a clue which ones, but eventually I will go through them.
Anyway, this Kilchoman at eight years old was drawn from an Oloroso sherry butt, with 634 bottles coming out of the cask. Not a clue what it cost back then but now it seems to go for at least € 170. Not too surprising for a Feis Ile bottling, and especially not from a sherry cask.
Smoky glue at the first sniff, with oak and steeped barley. It changes quickly to more traditional sherry with some dried fruits, dry spices and a bit of rye bread. The sherry becomes more intense after some more time. A spicy and dry kind, with more feinty notes than fruity ones.
Not too sharp, but certainly with some bite. The sherry and smoke work really well together here, with the spices and smoke being nicely complemented by the dried fruits. It’s a bit more syrupy than I expected, with hints of orange, plums and peach syrup. Barley, oak and smoke.
The finish is more traditional with the sherry taking the back seat and the oak and barley being more prominent. There’s a fierce smokiness without it being all encompassing. Surely there is some fruit left, but not a lot. Some orange, maybe. Hints of Lapsang Souchong, barley, smoke and brine.
Well, this one does everything by the book. The sherry is nicely integrated and adds complexity to an otherwise relatively straight forward dram (mind: this does not mean bad, since Kilchoman spirit is pretty awesome).
I like the tea notes I get towards the end, which is normally something I only find in Lagavulin, so that’s another plus for this dram. I would have preferred it with some more age, or at least, some more time to mellow and get a bit lower in the alcohol department.
Kilchoman 8yo, 13/12/2007 – 20/05/2016, Oloroso Sherry Butt 429, Feis Ile 2016.