I have fond memories of Kilchoman. From first visiting the distillery during the Feis Ile in 2010, to trying some superb cask strength offerings at The Whisky Show in both 2010 and 2013, to having a guided tour of the site from John, to sampling whisky in the warehouse. The surroundings aren’t bad either; we’ve spent many a happy hour walking and playing games on Machir Bay a little over a mile from the distillery grounds. I also love that Kilchoman are the only Islay distillery who can do the whole process on site – they have a mashing floor upon which they can use their own barley, and they can bottle their spirit after maturing it in their own warehouses. The spirit may still be young, but it’s a feisty yet complete youth, ready to be faced head on and enjoyed. The latest offering from the distillery is now 6 years old and fully matured in bourbon casks; it’s time to review the Kilchoman 2007.
The nose is very meaty, full of ham hock and pulled pork with a salty edge. There is peat, as expected, and on this occasion it is grassy and peppery. The sea air combines with some citric notes leaving a little burn on the nose before offering up maltesers and some sticky BBQ sauce.
The meatiness continues on the palate, before liquorice and blackjack sweets take over. The whisky reminded me of popping candy (without the popping) in that kind of spicy tantalising way. There was traces of salt, and the seasoning was complete with a hit of fresh black pepper and hot spices. The finish was very long and drying, and warmed the tongue nicely.
For me, Kilchoman can do no wrong, and this whisky shows why. It is lively, fresh and peaty and on this evidence I continue to expect fine things as the spirit matures and develops over time in the warehouses just yards from the stills. This is Islay whisky, and this is very, very good.