Kilchoman Single Bourbon Cask Review

Kilchoman Single Bourbon Cask is released at cask strength with a natural presentation (no chill filtering and no added colorant). While, this might not mean anything to some, for connoisseurs of whisky this is the mark of a confident producer. This particular release was selected by The Whiskey Library. The Whiskey Library, was founded in 2014 by Brian Thompson & Tim Moll. They are based in Washington DC & have the mission of sharing their love of whiskey through education. From the quality of this bottling & what I’ve heard from the ImpEx distributor in my area they are truly a great group.

The Kilchoman Distillery Intro

Kilchoman is the youngest distillery on Islay, but the first new one built on Islay in 124 years. They are a 100% Islay distillery that prides itself as the “Islay Farm Distillery”. Built in 2005, it is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland with an annual production of 225,000 litres of alcohol. Anthony Wills, the founder and managing director at Kilchoman is the champion of the vision ‘the ultimate farm distillery – taking the whisky back to its roots’. Luckily, they were able to raise the capital to buy the adjacent Rockside Farm. Importantly for us, being a young distillery they offer Single Casks for a reasonable prices.

The transparency on the Kilchoman website it truly impressive. With a casual look we learn there are 6 mashes per week, 12 distillation runs, and the spirit comes off the still at 69% and is reduced to 63.5% before filling. In a week this production schedule leads to a total of 22 casks being filled. Going even further, maturation takes place in bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery. When a distillery names where they get their barrels from, it’s similar to an open kitchen at a restaurant. They’re not afraid or ashamed to let a customer how they prepare their food.

This is truly a family run business, which is rare in Scotch today. I’ve heard great stories about the tastings the three brothers have put on around the East Coast of the US. There’s something truly impressive about the work they put in bringing this delicious spirit to a crowded whisky market. Even more impressive is the quality that needed to be present for them to even hold their own against such cult classics as Laphroaig, Ardbeg, & Bowmore just to name a few of the Islay giants.

As a gift, or for your personal consumption, the true whisky connoisseur will appreciate Kilchoman. This is the type of whisky, naturally presented, & done right at each stage of the process that will bring a smile to anyone’s face. And trust me when I say there’s an expression for everyone. Cheers!

The Review

  • Distillation Date: 26.8.2010
  • Bottle Date: 12.10.2016
  • Cask Number: 436/2010
  • Cask Type: Single Bourbon Cask
  • Selected & Bottled Exclusively for the by The Whiskey Library
  • 59.2% ABV

Look

There is perhaps no bottle of Scotch as photogenic as a Kilchoman bottle. I have seen excellent shots on bookshelves, on the beach, in the forest, atop car roofs, and alongside other bottles. It always stands out. The liquid is a pale golden hue with medium droplets that glide down the glass ultimately pooling back into the natural presentation.

Nose:

Without water the nose is concentrated but delicious – there is a maritime earthy peat, with honey & vanilla, cinnamon, and a roundness, there is a peach/pear note, and a healthy hit of alcohol ABV that’s free from iodine. With water, brown sugar, cinnamon, subtle pepper, a bit of almond.

Palate:

The peat comes bursting through, maritime, bonfire crackling wood, lemon zest & grapefruit zing, there’s a subtle vanilla, & white pepper. Water brings balance creating a much more rounded palate – smooth, baking spices, white pepper, soft peat, a bit of burnt caramel, some grilled pineapple & underneath a light hint of warm mango.

Finish:

Smoked meat – a well glazed brisket char, surprisingly gentle warming, just enough oak, some savory spice, an ex-bourbon barrel sweetness – some vanilla, a hint of pie crust. The development lengthens with water & the finesse really becomes apparent.

Verdict:

This is a truly special single cask release. The flavors are a complex & rounded balance between the distillery character, a soft peat, and the perfect amount of time in an ex-bourbon barrel. This is a whisky that rewards patience & the addition of water so add slowly depending on your palate & the full development will unfurl before you like a red carpet. Kilchoman has surprised people for years with how good a young whisky can be. This single cask convinced me Kilchoman takes no prisoners and truly knows what it is doing. Kilchoman Single Bourbon Cask for The Whiskey Library is an East Coast exclusive. But I recommend any single cask release if you want to experience what Kilchoman is capable of at its heights. It takes a lot to enter the Islay scene and make the splash that Kilchoman has made, but it has truly earned its place. Sláinte!

8.5 Total Score
Kilchoman Single Bourbon Cask Review

This is a whisky that shines on the palate: The peat comes bursting through, maritime, bonfire crackling wood, lemon zest & grapefruit zing, there’s a subtle vanilla, & white pepper. Water brings balance creating a much more rounded palate – smooth, baking spices, white pepper, soft peat, a bit of burnt caramel, some grilled pineapple & underneath a light hint of warm mango.

Nose
9
Palate
9
Finish
8
0

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