Kilchoman – Christmas Tasting, 2021

Kilchoman Distillery – Christmas Tasting, December 2021

The final virtual Kilchoman Tasting session of 2021 was their Christmas Tasting! Following a similar structure to their previous tasting sessions, we started with the Machir Bay and Sanaig core range whiskies. We then moved on to an upcoming Madeira Cask Matured expression, and the Kilchoman Club Release 2021.

The following links will take you to our tasting notes and thoughts on the Machir Bay and Sanaig expressions.

Kilchoman Distillery …

Founded in 2005, Kilchoman was the first distillery to be built on Islay in over 120 years. Using a 100% Islay philosophy, the Wills family run a farm-to-bottle production. Having built up an established reputation amongst whisky lovers, Kilchoman are known for their experimental finishes and maturations. These are periodically released alongside their core range of: Machir Bay, Sanaig, Loch Gorm, and 100% Islay.

Due to supply chain issues throughout 2021 with regards to sourcing their glass bottles, difficult business decisions were made to delay certain releases. Most notably the Madeira Maturation (reviewed below) from October 2021 to February 2022. Throughout the tasting Anthony also mentioned that they are considering a seven to eight year old Port release and Machir Bay cask strength release for 2022. So some VERY exciting times ahead for us Kilchoman lovers!

Madeira Cask Matured, 50% ABV

Originally planed to be released in October 2021, this release was postponed to February 2021 following supply chain issues with glass bottles. At just over five years of age, this is older than their previous Madeira release in 2016. A vatting of 46 casks we can expect roughly 17,000 bottles to hit the market. At 50% ABV this is slightly higher than their core-range at 46% ABV.

Nose: salty sea air, very fresh, lemon zest, freshly squeezed lime, buttery caramel, hints of leather arm chair, rounded off with a lovely light BBQ peat
Palate: beautiful sweet burnt caramel taste, creamy texture, salted caramel chocolate, tropical fruits, stone fruit notes
Finish: hints of oak and ginger spice, warming cloves and long finish – keeps developing a dark chocolate, and wisps of smoke

This whisky has a wonderful mouth feel. Richly coating every corner of your mouth, with deep caramel smokiness. We feel it would work at the end of an evening, one final dram to round off a night with friends. We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes on the Kilchoman website for when this goes lives!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kilchoman Club Release 2021, 52.6% ABV

A selection of three 2008 Oloroso sherry hogsheads – casks 634, 636, and 640. Originally started in sherry butts, they were decanted in 2016 into hogshead to deepen the character of the whisky. The tenth Kilchoman Club release, they are looking for something a bit special. A total of 807 bottles were made available in November, and were sold out in 45 minutes! At almost 13 years of age this is one of the oldest Kilchoman expressions that have been released to date.

Nose: soft peat smoke, melted milk chocolate, toasted pecans, fresh zestyness, quite floral and fragrant, exceptionally light
Palate: surprisingly floral and light on the palate, lovely sweetness, brown sugar, fresh red fruits, dying embers of a bonfire, caramel chocolate truffle
Finish: cinnamon, cloves, and baking spices, leave a really creamy texture around your mouth

We were exceptionally lucky to get our hands on a bottle, and now we cannot wait to tuck into it! A dainty dram, that doesn’t shout in your face. The flavours continue to develop and build over time – leaving you with a smoky, chocolatey, fruity yumminess!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Another great tasting from the team at Kilchoman. A distillery that is at the top of our hit list as soon as traveling becomes less of a pain. In the meantime, these online tasting have provided fantastic access and insight into a lot of their range.

We like that they include their core range whiskies as a starting point. A comparison point to the other whiskies in the set. This allows you to understand the flavour profile in more detail as well as appreciate the master distillers skill. Anthony, George, and the rest of the family are wonderful hosts – you get a real feel for the business but also the family behind Kilchoman.

What more can we say? Amazing whiskies, and a fabulous team!

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