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Kilchoman Single Cask #739/2013 Mezcal Finish SAQ Exclusive

Last Train To Satanville

5 089

@cricklewoodReview by @cricklewood

30th Mar 2023

1

Kilchoman Single Cask #739/2013 Mezcal Finish SAQ Exclusive
  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    89

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Like many other producers it would seem tha Kilchoman were waiting in the wings shortly after the SWA broadened the range of casks allowed for maturation (Tequila, Mezcal, Calvados & others). This single cask was first matured for 7 years in ex-Bourbon cask and then an 8 month finish in a Mezcal cask, yielding 257 bottles, it was selected for the SAQ, Qu├ębec's liquor board.

Nose: Sweet, vegetal, smoky. Grain forward, barley syrup, a little grasssy, something akin to eucalyptus syrup, charred marshmallow, earthy peat smoke but meshes with a vegetal side like artichoke, asparagus and loroco. A little menthol, pine tar and latex. Throughout there's the sweetness of the bourbon cask.

Palate: Earthy, smokey, savoury and sweet. Wine gums, Carolina BBQ, there's an earthy bitterness that contrasts the sweetness so well. Chinchona bark, almost effervescent, candied lemon peel, a little pineapple, mango chutney.

Finish: Sweet, smoked lemon water, artichoke honey, a pan of burnt drippings, new tennis ball, kippers, camphor and yet a kind of sweetness wraps it all up.

Notes: What a fucking cracker this is! I had a hunch the Mezcal might contribute vegetal/earthyness and its own smoky profile. I was worried it might clash with everything but in the end its the opposite. This must have been a pretty sweet first fill ex-bourbon barrel because that sweetness runs right through the whole experience but the mezcal cask brings loads of flavours that pair well with the intensity of the Port Ellen malt distilled Kilchoman. Complimenting rather than fighting them, the sweet vegetal agave notes create a symbiosis with the coastal peat. The palate is teetering right on the edge of throwing the whole thing off but that sweetness saves it. You have to give it time to rest in the glass but it pays off.

I know allowing mezcal casks in the Scotch whisky wold is really a move pushed by the big players who need to have a new gimmick for their premium offerings or to jazz up interest in waning products (Dewars Illegal Smooth?) it's not traditional and I am of mixed mind about it. In wrong hands its will be the worse farce and also I fear the pressure it will put on creating aged stock for a distillate that is tradionally consumed unaged and who's industry is already threatened by rampant abuse from outsiders.

This works, I think it requires a distillate of character to stand up to the Mezcal in this manner.

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