Here’s a quirky l’il Kilchoman, and utterly winning in its unique profile. Having recently wended my way through a very encompassing range of expressions from this young Islay distillery, this was one of the ones that really stood out. Yes, the quality of spirit is inherent, but so is the wood policy. If memory serves (and as I get older, it often doesn’t) Kilchoman was using ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon casks for maturation of their firey young spirit. The sweetness of Buffalo Trace working wonders to knock some of the barbs from the heavily-peated Islay malt.
The most interesting thing about this expression is that, for a farm distillery a few miles inland, the spirit somehow exudes a bold and undeniable oily smoked salmon nose. Oceanic notes are nothing new to Islay malts, but this decidedly fishy nose is new to me. Having said that…it works. I can’t help but wonder what exactly is contributing that profile to the whisky though.
The nose is, as mentioned, heavy in salmon-esque effluence. Peat and smoke are omnipresent, of course, and rounded out with lemon juice, kerosene, mussels in white wine and a grassy/herbal note.
The palate, both on arrival and playing out through the finish, also carries that fishiness. Notes of hoisin sauce and syrupy pear still manage to be heard amid the hot cacophony of peat noise.
Good drink. Don’t be fooled by thinking this young distillery is a one-trick pony. Their expressions, while young, are already varied and carry unique fingerprints.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt