Single malt whisky - tasting notes

26 Jan 2010

Kilchoman 3yo (Autumn 2009 release)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Kilchoman

After the first Inaugural release of Kilchoman, this new version was released a couple of weeks ago.

It has been matured for three years in first fill and refill bourbon casks bought from Buffalo Trace. After that, it was finished in oloroso butts for two and a half months and vatted with non-finished (ex-bourbon) Kilchoman. Kudos to the distillery for explaining precisely what’s in the bottle.

Kilchoman 3yo - second autumn release

Kilchoman 3yo 2006 ‘Autumn 2009 release’ (46%, OB 2009, 10.000 btl.)

Nose: starts in a similar way as the first release, but it doesn’t take long before this one shows more fruit. Another (small) step away from the new-make notes. Firm peat and extinguished cigarette notes, but also more maritime hints this time. More pepper as well. Hints of black olives. Faint whiffs of cinnamon and caramelized ginger – the start of spicy notes developed by the wood! Interesting how it constantly switches from sweet to savoury flavours while swirling the glass. Mouth: fat, oily peat. It doesn’t seem to get much grip though, the attack of the Inaugural release seems stronger to me. Some sweeter notes, fading quickly and making way for a very dry bitterness that evolves to soapy notes in the aftertaste. A bit strange and not entirely my taste. Finish: rather earthy peat with hints of nutmeg.

On the nose: perfectly enjoyable with an impressive mixture of sweet, candied notes and briney peat. On the palate, I felt disappointed with the soapiness as an off-note for me. Better than the Kilchoman 3yo Inaugural release, but no match for the Kilchoman single cask for LMdW. Around € 55.

Score: 79/100

Kilchoman 3yo
Inaugural release

– clear hints of new-make
– artificial fruitiness
– too ashy
– mono-dimensional
Kilchoman 3yo
Autumn release

– hardly any new-make notes
– pleasantly fruity and spicy
– too soapy
– more complex
Kilchoman 3yo (Autumn 2009 release) 2.5 Ruben Luyten 2010-01-26
  • Jeff H

    Thanks for the comparison, Ruben! I’ll be doing the same soon. I look forward to seeing how this one cuts down on the new make notes, but I’m a little worried about the “soapy” comment. This reminds me of when I compared the U.S. 43% HP 15 to a sample of UK 40% HP 15. The 40% version was very soapy, and not pleasant at all (hopefully a bad sample).

    You mention the LMdW bottle. I sure wish I had managed to get my hands on that. I liked the 2 yr. a little better than the Inaugural release, and I think it’s because of the finishing. Any idea what prompted them to do that 3 month finishing, rather than just let us experience the results from the bourbon casks?


  • Ruben

    You get different flavour compounds from different cask types of course. So in order to gain as much complexity as possible, they bet on different horses. Moreover, I reckon the sherry casks were fresh (seasoned) casks (i.e. casks that were never used to mature actual sherry, but that were specifically prepared for whisky maturation) as they can do their magic pretty quickly (more so than a “second hand” ex-bourbon cask that has done a lot of work already).

  • Jeff H.

    Hmm, interesting point on the sherry casks. I wasn’t aware of such a practice!

    I’m a big fan of sherry cask involvement in whiskies, especially in Lagavulin and HP, but if Kilchoman is going to keep up this rapid release rate (quarterly releases?), I hope they give us a chance to experience a pure bourbon matured bottling with one of them. Maybe it will be closer to that LMdW one you liked much more.

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  • Gal Granov

    nice Ruben.
    as jeff, and others i guess i am going to also post a similar comparison of the 2 expressions.
    i do think that the automn is indeed a few points higher. if i had to score, definetly 86 or 87.
    when i have some time, and settle down will try to…

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November 2015
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Coming up

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  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
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  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
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1932 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.