Friday, May 8, 2020

Whisky Review: Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th Edition

As with the 6th Edition, the 7th continued the climb in age while maintaining the same vintage source. Let's find out what another year in the cask does for this spirit.

This whisky was distilled in 2010 from 20 PPM floor malt, filled into fresh and refill ex-bourbon casks, then bottled in 2017 at 50% without coloring or chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from Whiskysite, but full bottles are still available from Dramtime.

Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th Edition

Nose: very subdued dry peat smoke, rather herbal, dry malt, canola with a touch of olive oil, dried flowers, dried fruits, savory, Pixie Stix. After adding a few drops of water the peat comes more into focus, the oily notes become creamier, a strong vanilla note comes in, the oak becomes baking spices, and the herbal/floral notes are joined by dried fruits.

Taste: sweet malt and oats with oak in the background up front, mixed fruit in the middle, fades into drier malt with cold peat smoke, dried herbs, and mild oak tannins. After dilution there's a savory note that rides through the palate and blends with the fruit in the middle, plus the peat becomes less smoky and more herbal.

Finish: smoky/mossy peat, dry malt, oats, mild oak, dried flowers

Wow, the peat is really mild here. I'm not sure if that's because these casks were older or just a matter of which ones were picked, but this is a radical contrast from the 5th and 6th Editions. If the 5th Edition was Bowmore, this is drifting into Kilkerran/Tobermory territory.

Water really helps, to the point where I wonder if this would have been better off bottled at 46-48%. A little dilution brings the peat out and somehow manages to increase its complexity, which is not what I usually expect. It's almost enough to make me want more, but I'm not sure I could choose this over the exuberance of the 5th Edition.

Either way, if you're coming into this, I think you'll get the most enjoyment by properly calibrating your expectations. This is a long way from being a smoke bomb like some of their PE releases, but it seems like time is finally giving instead of just taking away.

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