Next on my tasting list was going to be a comparison of Bowmore 12 and 18, but then my Kilchoman Connoisseurs Pack arrived:
This pack consists of three ages of Kilchoman New Spirit in 50ml bottles, all with a peating level of 50ppm:
One month – 63.5% ABV
One year – 63% ABV
Two years – 62% ABV
Kilchoman will be releasing their first official scotch whisky (3 years) later this year.
The Kilchoman [Kil-HOH-man] Distillery had slipped under my radar until I saw it mentioned as the 8th Islay distillery in the Black Bottle blog. As an Islay fan, this immediately piqued my interest, and I started looking around for more information. I checked out their distillery web site, discovered that there had actually been some mention of it in the Whisky Magazine forums that I frequent, and found an interview with the Kilchoman managing director on Singlemalt.tv. This definitely looked like something I wanted to keep my eye on.
When I discovered that you can get samples of the New Spirit (and even a full size bottle of the 2 years), I had to order some, as I’m too impatient to wait for the official whisky release. I ended up busy with other things tonight, and was too tired to do a full comparison of the three makes, but I couldn’t resist sneaking a wee dram of the 2 years (yes, I’ve jumped to the back of the book before to see how it ends).
Quick tasting notes: Of the other distilleries that I’ve tried, the first one that jumped to my mind upon nosing the Kilchoman spirit was not another Islay, but rather, Springbank (Longrow CV). There is certainly a strong peat smell. There’s also a sweetness that reminds me of burnt sugar (top of a creme brulee). [Edit - Hmm...I just realized that Kilchoman uses "creme brulee" in their description of the 2 year nose. They're talking about a vanilla scent, while I'm just talking about the torched sugar on top...still, I wonder if I read that on their web site and subconsciously recalled it as I wrote this.] I think there’s a slight sulpher influence that lends kind of a coal smoke smell as well. I really enjoyed the nose. I can’t believe how inoffensive it was for such a young spirit. Not feinty at all. The peat carries on through to the finish, and the sweetness remains on the palate.
I tasted a very small dram tonight, and will revisit this (and the other two) within the next couple of days and post my results. My first impression is VERY favorable, though.
[Update] My follow-up post, Cuckoo for Kilchoman, contains full tasting notes of the three spirits, as well as additional info and links about Kilchoman.