Kilchoman Distillery – Comraich, Batches 1 to 4, October 2021
Up next on the Kilchoman virtual tasting agenda was an exploration of their Comraich range. A lesser known range of Kilchoman expressions available in a select number of bars globally – so very exciting to get to try these in the comfort of our own home!
An interesting range from Kilchoman – Comraich in Gaelic translates to “Sanctuary stones”. The team explained that this idea came from the church that is down the road from them, which is home to three Sanctuary stones.
Only available in a handful of bars globally (don’t worry, they’ve created a handy map for you to find your “local”) the concept behind the range is to find sanctuary inside a bar, away from the outside world. Unavailable to be purchased in bottle format as a consumer, you can only sample this by the dram.
Comraich, Batch 1, 55.5% ABV
Launched in 2017 along with the first of the bars. Three casks from 2007, two bourbon barrels (146/2007, 265/2007) and an Oloroso sherry butt (419/2007). Wanted to release a spirit that was older than their typical releases at the time – so a 10 y/o where they were mostly releasing seven/eight year olds.
Nose: musty, honey, lots of hay, light vanilla, floral, and large doses of maritime salt – quite a savoury nose – slightest hint of dried red fruits
Palate: dark chocolate, salt, warming spices, honey cereal, creamy porridge, malty biscuits
Finish: pepper-spice, and burnt orange peel
A fairly typical Kilchoman combination of bourbon and sherry creates a beautiful, light, fresh, sweet dram. The longer age definitely adds complexity to the palate – draws out the salty-honey notes.
Comraich, Batch 2, 55.3% ABV
Following a similar style to the first release, they opted for consecutive casks for the 2018 Comraich (206/2011, 207/2011, and 208/2011). Eight year old, all fresh-fill bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace. In comparison to the Batch 1 you can already see the difference in colour, with the removal of the sherry influence.
Nose: sweet, vanilla, Victoria sponge cake, orange oil, light and floral – spring blossom – hint of peat
Palate: earthy, rich peat, vanilla, tropical fruits, lots of passionfruit, quite floral
Finish: flavour really develops – almost chew it! lots of orange and vanilla smoke
Sweeter than the Batch 1, the vanilla is far more prominent in this dram. Typically I lean more towards a sherry whisky but this a solid dram – bold sweet, smoky, floral flavours.
Comraich, Batch 3, 55.7% ABV
Made with barley grown on their own farm, this is made up of three casks: two fresh bourbon barrels from 2008 (524/2008 and 528/2008) and an Oloroso sherry butt from 2010 (275/2010). As this dram is made with their own barley, it is only peated to roughly 20PPM vs. the 50PPM of the other drams.
Nose: rich earthy soil, maritime salt, richer peat, creamy, subtle hints of dried fruits, damp fresh air
Palate: creamy, vanilla, fruity sweetness, baking spices, and rich nutty earthy peat, malty biscuits
Finish: warming spices, earthy peat, and grilled tropical fruit
Despite following a similar structure to Batch 1, the Batch 3 is lighter with less sherry influence. You can taste the 100% Islay influence which is LOVELY – malty sweetness, light peat, and creamy texture.
Comraich, Batch 4, 55% ABV
We have previously tried this dram – way back on one of our first virtual tastings with Kilchoman – so it will be interesting to see how our notes compare. Once again this is a mixture of three bourbon barrels from 2011 (205/2011, 467/2011, and 775/2011).
Nose: vanilla, fresh fruit, tropical fruits, orange oil, whisper of smoke, summer grass, lots of citrus
Palate: cinder toffee, tropical fruits, creamy mouth feel, very rich, milk chocolate
Finish: light spiced peat, with milk chocolate rounding it off
Our favourite Comraich expression of the evening, those chocolate notes really bring forward creamy texture, and compliment the smoke brilliantly.
Once again a brilliant tasting from the Kilchoman team. It’s great to see how this range varies over time, especially the influence of the 100% Islay barley. We’re excited for the launch of Batch 5 and hope to grab a dram at our “local” Comraich bar!