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I’ve sampled from only a few Kilchomans over the years. In all honesty I often find Kilchoman to be of good quality, but often overpriced and rather inconsistent. It's for that reason it's easily the Islay distillery that I've explored the least. Well, it's time to change that. Here's a 5 year old single barrel bourbon-matured Kilchoman that's been released at a hefty 59.3%.
Nose: Grassy, herbal, and sweet. Quite a strong licorice note, grass, sweet herbs, fruity tobacco, vanilla, cloves, white chocolate.
Palate: Sweet and medicinal. Sweet hay, honey, herbs, white chocolate, mocha, earth, grass, ginseng, and campfire smoke.
Finish: Long, malty, and herbal. Grass, barley, peat, campfire smoke, hay, licorice, allspice, leather, tobacco, white chocolate, tar, cloves, ginseng, and malt.
Thoughts: In my limited experience with Kilchoman, it strikes me as the least “maritime” of the Islay distilleries, and this one’s no different. While I love the traditionally briny Islay profiles, this is a cool departure. Of course, being from Islay, it still packs a peaty punch. But it’s also markedly herbal, defined mainly by its herbal/licorice note and peripheral flavours of tobacco, white chocolate, and cloves. It is youngish around the edges, but it comes together well, and the character is distinctive.
If I were to leave the review there, this whisky would have gotten roughly 88 or so. HOWEVER, too much air has really thrown this one off course. The last couple drams of this have been overwhelmed by a musty tobacco note that disrupts the entire balance. Drink this fast and you’ve got a very nice whisky on your hands. Too slow and all bets are off. It’s a pricey and risky buy, but worth trying at least once.