Kilchoman Casado takes its name from the Portuguese for married. A set of 38 ex-bourbon barrels (peated to around 50 ppm and aged for around 6 years) received a two year finish in two massive Portuguese red wine vats (DOC Douro) with a capacity of 6000 litres.
I wonder whether these vats were taken apart in Portugal and shipped over to Scotland. Perhaps a Scottish cooperage made them for Kilchoman by combining standard barriques? I also wonder how this is not a violation of the technical file of Scotch whisky, which says whisky should be matured only in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres. While vatting in large containers is allowed, this is usually a stainless steel tank, right?
Kilchoman Casado (46%, OB 2022, 12.900 btl.)
Nose: coastal smoke at first, with camfire notes and smouldering barbecue ashes. Then it becomes quite fruity, with juicy peaches and plenty of citrus notes. Charred lemons with salt. A subtle vanilla and toffee note in the background. Overall a clean Kilchoman footprint but hardly any Portuguese wine influence so far.
Mouth: still a rather citrusy take on Kilchoman, with lemon juice and lemon peels, alongside seaweed and herbal notes. Then ginger and white pepper. Earthy notes and hints of smoked pear appear, as well as a hint of nectarine. Not particularly complex and still not showing the expected red berries or other winey notes.
Finish: medium length. Smoky and rather salty now, also showing immature youthful notes. Acidity and light bitterness, with a kind of rough gingery edge.
I’m not sure why Kilchoman would insist on stretching the SWA specifications and use a huge vat that clearly doesn’t contribute a lot. One of the least impressive Kilchomans I’ve had in the past few years. Bottles found at The Whisky Exchange for instance, or samples from Whiskysite.nl.
Next up we have the Kilchoman Madeira Cask. This was distilled in May 2016. The spirit matured for 5 years and 3 months in 46 fresh Madeira hogsheads, before bottling 50% abv in August 2021. They planned to release this in late 2021 but a bottle shortage led to a delay until March 2022.
Kilchoman Madeira Cask Matured 2016 (50%, OB 2021, 17.000 btl.)
Nose: here at least the Madeira shows right away. There’s some raisin sweetness, tart apples and white grapes. Then also whiffs of caramel and nougat. Hints of bread crust, light leather and some tarry smoke.
Mouth: the smoke became bigger and sootier, mixing nicely with the Madeira sweetness. Oranges and peaches with some pickle juice. Then herbal notes, hints of tobacco and cold coffee. Hints of berries and drying spice.
Finish: long, on cigar smoke, burnt sugar, subtle woody notes and a pinch of salt.
Perhaps a little young, with limited complexity. However the Madeira integrates nicely and the extra ABV gives this a good impact. Definitely a better result than Casado. Score: 86/100