Today is Kilchoman day at Feis Ile 2016. The youngest distillery on Islay is 10 years old and we finally see some longer matured releases where releases age creeps up from 4 and 5 years to 5 and 6 years and the Festival bottling is over 8 years old.
But today the review showcases what a young whisky can be when its paired with good active casks. The Kilchoman Madeira cask is the first ever Madeira release from the distillery, 17 casks of 1st fill Madeira were used to create this whisky. Peat battling Madeira – who wins?
Nose: A very sweet nose. nutty and somewhat winey with tannins, fruity with a lot of apricots. The peat is very restrained, cured BBQ meat, sweet smoke and generally the Kilchoman peat profile is right there in the background but muted. Again apricots and white pepper, not a very complex nose but it’s lovely, balanced and rounded.
Palate: The peat is stronger and a bit sharper here than the nose, ashes and mild tannins with a bit of acidity. It’s less sweet but still carries that apricots fruitiness, cured meat, ashes and oak wood spices bitterness at the end.
Finish: Medium length, white pepper, warming spices, dry, bitterness of oak spices and weak lingering fruit sweetness.
Thoughts: The result of marrying Kilchoman with Madeira is very good for a 4 year old whisky. The Madeira absolutely restrained the young kicking peat of Kilchoman, but still it’s a 4 yo whisky and some youth and harsh peat characteristics show up so the body can’t catch up to the nose just yet. I hope there will be a future and older release!