One recent Christmas, Santa Claus brought Pam a bottle of Kilchoman. That darn Santa, he's pretty damn smart, knowing how much she loves her peated scotches! This one is their vintage Spring 2010 release. It was aged for 3 years in bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace, then 3 1/2 months in oloroso sherry butts.
The colour is a pale, cloudy yellow. On the nose we have fresh lemon curd anchored by peat smoke, eucalyptus, light vanilla and a curious note of buttermilk. There are all sorts of savoury aromas here that you might not associate with a young Islay malt: freshly baked scalloped potatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, golden raisins and buttered brioche. It's like a bakery in here! And with a drop of water, all of this gets amped right up. This is an incredible nose, one of the most unique I've ever come across.
On the palate the peat takes over, but underneath that those cereal and lemon notes carry through. However, we're missing a reflection of those meaty, savoury flavours that are present in the aroma. Lots of spice and sharp herbs (mint, fennel seed) with a slightly oily mouthfeel. A hint of Mackintosh toffee. When you add water, you not only get more mint and spice, but some of that earlier meatiness starts to show through. Absolutely delicious and full of surprises.
The finish is surprisingly short with more lemon, heather and that eucalyptus. After a nose like that, I guess it's inevitable that the follow-through would be a bit of a letdown. It's still delicious, bracing stuff that fellow peat-heads will be all over. But that nose.....wow....that nose....