When it opened not so long ago, Kilchoman was the first new distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years. It’s very small and unique in that their Optic barley is grown on the farm and malted, distilled and matured at the distillery. The release of their first real whisky, a 3yo with 50ppm phenols (like Ardbeg) and a 5 month oloroso finish, was a highly anticipated event.
Kilchoman 3yo ‘Inaugural release’
(46%, OB 2009, 8450 btl.)
Nose: I was a bit disappointed because it’s still close to the last new-make samples, with the usual hints of (artificial) banana and rhubarb. I liked the new-make but my expectations for the extra years were too high, I guess. Full of coal smoke / bonfire of course. Some medicinal associations. Quite some vanilla as well. Hardly any sherry.
Mouth: not very punchy at first and a bit unbalanced, but it grows bigger. The full flavours only come out in the aftertaste. Big, both in terms of peatiness and sweetness , although the oak brings some dryness as well. Peppery and smokey. Again no sherry that I can get. Hardly any fruit either for that matter.
Finish: very long. Ashtray with some sweet vanilla.
Unlike the new-make releases, this 3yo is in the big boys class now, but I prefer to wait a couple of years longer before getting this for my cabinet. I see potential but given its very limited complexity, I can’t give the current product a whopping score like most other reviewers do, just because of the potential. Anyway, it took about 3 seconds to sell out, so it doesn’t really matter what I say… Around € 55.
I’m still looking forward to a mature Kilchoman by the way!