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Kilchoman 10th Anniversary

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 84

Kilchoman 10th Anniversary

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Kilchoman 10th Anniversary

This Kilchoman was released in 2015 to commemorate the distillery's 10th anniversary. It is a vatting of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks that were filled between 2005 and 2012, and according to the description it contains some whisky from cask 1/2005, the first cask ever filled at Kilchoman. The total outturn was 3,000 bottles, available only at the distillery. This review refers to bottle no. 2,550 that I obtained during a visit to the distillery in October 2015.

The nose is quite smoky and malty, with plenty of cereal flavours to start with. Vanilla flavours come next, followed by notes of lemons and a hint of white pepper.

The palate is medium-bodied, spicy, and delicately smoky. Flavours of lemons and grapefruits develop next, followed by - again - white pepper and a grassy note.

The finish is quite long. The smoke has now turned into an ashy flavour that lasts to the very end, together with lemon flavours that now are somewhat subdued.

In my search for the one Kilchoman that ticks all the boxes for me I have finally been successful: this anniversary bottling has an enticing nose, a palate that very well combines smoky and fruity flavours, and great balance overall, and I have been enjoying every sip. My favourite Kilchoman bottling so far!


Kilchoman is a quaint little distillery that has defied the odds and is fast becoming a name to reckon with.

Good quality whisky making that is leading the way in making people realize that age is but a number. And by that I don't mean they're churning out NAS statements like everyone else out there.

Quite the contrary.

They take pride in telling people the exact age of their whiskies. From the time of distillation to the exact day of bottling. They don't hide behind fancy marketing jargon and instead let the whisky do the talking.

And for that they have my respect.

Their whiskies remind me of old school Ardbegs with their Islay grist and barley smokiness beautifully balanced with a woody sweetness. After an initial run-in with a couple of less than stellar bottlings I am now a fan.

I picked up a mini of the 10th Anniversary bottling when I visited the distillery during my Islay visit last month for the Festival. And since I've already made it clear that I'm a big fan this particular bottling comes as a bit of a disappointment.

To mark 10 years since it opened it's doors the distillery, along with it's official single cask Feis Ile bottling, released a special expression with whiskies from each year starting from 2005 until 2012 from both bourbon and sherry barrels.

My sample is from a 50ml mini purchased at the distillery and bottled at 58.2%

Nose: Sugarcane. Quite tart. White wine chardonnay. White pepper. Hint of fruit. Dried apricots. Green limes. That lovely Islay peat. Fine grist. Lots of barley. So close to the old school Ardbegs. Brine. Hint of cottage cheese. Whiff of grass. I quite like the nose. (23/25)

Palate: Good weight. Initially the mouthfeel is great. But then you get this wave of bitterness. I have never tasted a whisky this bitter ever. I try and get some fruits but, my word, there is something wrong here. (18/25)

Finish: Bitter. Spicy. Bitter. (18/25)

Such a shame about this expression. There is definitely a bad cask in here somewhere and there's lots of it, too. A great idea marred by a miscreant.

But that's not going to stop me from being a fan. In fact it tells me the guys over at Kilchoman are human.

@Victor Thanks for stopping by old friend. Always nice to hear from you.

Yes, a shame about this particular whisky but then we all make mistakes. Funny thing is I did not really notice the bitterness when I had it at the distillery (having been quite a few expressions along). Plus everything tastes great when you're in Islay.

It made itself quite apparent the next day when I sat down for another look - but still not undrinkable. But when I really sat down to review it I realized the extent of the bitterness. Gave it a lot of time and multiple tastings from multiple bottles with the same result.

@MaltActivist, thanks for an excellent review, very descriptive with excellent balance and context. It is a fact of whisk(e)y life that even our favourite distilleries and brands do sometimes greatly disappoint us. I've seen it many times.

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