Single malt whisky - tasting notes

23 Aug 2011

Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Kilchoman

In 2011, Kilchoman will release three new products: Kilchoman 5 years old (November), a full sherry matured version (September) and this Kilchoman 100% Islay, a 3 year-old made from barley grown malted, distilled, matured and bottled on Islay.

This fits the idea of being a farm distillery producing their own ingredients. It’s similar to Bruichladdich‘s ‘Islay Barley’ bottling, but their barley was still malted on the mainland.

Apart from this regular bottling at 50%, there’s also a limited edition, bottled at cask strength (61,3%) and presented in a hand-crafted American oak box, available for a slightly surreal € 215. As far as I know, it’s a different vatting, not just a different strength.


Kilchoman 100% IslayKilchoman 3 yo ‘Inaugural 100% Islay’ (50%, OB 2011)

Nose: a powerful attack displaying an almost aggressive youthfulness. Instant lemon / grapefruit aromas, slightly synthetic rhubarb and intense coal smoke. Some grainy vanilla biscuits. Chalk. Faint medicinal notes as well. Mouth: sweet, peaty and smoky. Initially there are the medicinal notes again, but these evolve into softer, sweeter notes. Roasted grain cookies and lemon zest again. Apples. Finish: medium long, peaty with a fruity sweetness and whiffs of pepper.


Until the older releases arrive, Kilchoman can only offer a rather immature whisky (with quite some potential). While this is still the case, they seem to achieve a nicer balance even at the same young age. Quality is going up and so are the prices. Around € 80.

Score: 82/100

Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay 3 Ruben Luyten 2011-08-23
  • Elvar Ástráðsson

    very disapointing after the springrelease. This is all over the field from chinese grain to calvados, very unbalanced so what will it will mature to is impossible to say. Its certainly bad value now. You can really taste the newmake.

  • Ruben

    Well it’s getting better with fewer newmake notes every time. Have you tried the earliest releases? Value for money is indeed a little low…

  • Nick T

    I could not agree less with the comments above. If this was blind tasted most people would place this at around 8 years old. Kilchoman have really worked some magic on this release and i don’t think i have ever tasted a more rounded, complex and mature whisky at this age.

    When this spirit starts to be released at 10, 12, 16, 20 years and so on, it will rival the finest in the world. I for one will be proud to have tasted it in its youth, in its purest form before the barrel started to impact the flavour more than the careful selection of ingredients and care that was taken in distilling.

    If you really took the age into consideration, there is no way you can award less then five stars, unless anyone cares to suggest a better 5 yr old whisky?

  • Ruben

    Ledaig 4yo 2005:
    Port Charlotte 5yo 2002 Nadi Fiori:
    Octomore 5yo 1.1:

    I agree Kilchoman has potential, but this particular expression was certainly not the best I’ve had. This review is about the 3 years old Inaugural Release by the way, not the recent five year-old. Are you sure you’re commenting on the right Kilchoman here?



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1932 notes by Ruben

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