Islay region – 46%ABV – 700ml bottle – £45 | €52 (currently not available through US stores)
Kilchoman (which sounds more like a yiddish word than the name of a Scotch whisky…) is a newer distillery on the little island of Islay – it opened in 2005 (the first to open up on Islay in more than 120 years). While I can go on-and-on about the distillery, other people have already done that and have done a much better job than I could ever do. Rather, I will focus on the whisky itself – it’s aromas, taste, memories it brought to the forefront of my mind and what the best time/season/mood to drink it in will be.
A big thank you to G.G. for the sample!
You may be asking yourself how I, a shul-going Jew, would know what a church pew smells like. There’s a great story that goes with that. This is not something I am very proud of but hey, it’s a great story!
Back when I was 13, me and my buddies Rob and “Froggy” (ah, “Froggy”, you could have played “Froggy” in a broadway revival of The Little Rascals, your voice was that raspy) thought it would be good fun to start pulling fire alarms around our town causing our fire department to send out 2-3 fire trucks (toward different locations) for no good reason. I would say that in the course of 4 months we pulled a total of 35 alarms. We were assholes.
One day, a day I decided not to assist those guys in alarm pulling, a knock came to my door. Mr. & Mr. Police Officer came to my door to “bring me in” (as they say “in the parlance of our times”). Rob and Froggy were caught and ratted on me. We were charged with “X” amount of counts; “X” for touching the alarms and “X” for pulling the alarms. Our punishment?
Among many other things (and not including that ass-whooping I got from my parents), 40 hours of community service which included weekly cleaning of the pews at the local Catholic Church – St. Francis. At age 15 those “counts” were struck from my record and I’ve not gotten in trouble since.
So yes, I know all too well what Church pews smell like. Back to the nosing…
I like this nose, a lot.
Oh, now I’m getting a scent here that reminds me of a swimming hole I used to frequent with my old buddy Al – so, what is it? Very clean & super-cold water (with a bit of fresh-water vegetal growth – how nice) . This is when I was learning how to be an upright teenager – this nose is bringing back memories. I miss Al.
On the mouth — Quite viscous, children’s teething biscuits, canola oil, tannic notes, oily still but drying, some meaty/gamey notes (think lamb chops), figs – where’s that cleanliness I got from the nose? Some slight lemons pop up.
Finish — Long, honey taffy, peat bite (not warmth).
In sum — I think the age of this whisky is fairly apropos of the memories it’s pinging in my head – Youth and Young Manhood. There’s some nice complexity here but the balance is a touch off. I can see this Islay whisky evolving into an extraordinary dram. I can wait for the 10yr expression!