Malt Nuts: Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 1

The Malt Nuts are a great group of guys who get together and drink single malts. Kilchoman is a distillery that puts out young whisky at such an impressive caliber it makes you forget how young it is. Mixing the two together is a recipe for an amazing evening and that’s exactly what we had recently here in Los Angeles. An amazing evening.

We gathered, we noshed, we toasted our gracious host and then we set about dissecting 13 bottles of wine barrel finished or aged Kilchoman, most of which were sherried. We were supposed to have 14 but someone who will remain nameless was double booked and so the port finish never made it to the show… you know who you are.

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 2

Like all Malt Nuts tastings it was done blind and since this one was a large tasting with a theme, unlike the blind Springbank two weeks before, it was broken down into the the groupings / rounds below.

  1. Kilchoman Sherry Finished – Cut
  2. Kilchoman Sherry Finished – Cask Strength
  3. Kilchoman Sherry Aged – Cask Strength

Now on to the Malt Nuts: Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting

Kilchoman Sherry Finished – Cut

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 4

1A: Kilchoman Sanaig: 46%

  • Nose: Sherry, iodine, peat, vermouth, dried fruit, menthol, anise, malt, brown sugar and candied citrus.
  • Palate: Sherry, cherry heavy dark fruit, peat, iodine, saline, menthol, anise, nutmeg, brown sugar and candied citrus.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, sherry, iodine, dark fruit, saline and honey.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Wow I liked this one. The nose and palate are in perfect harmony; it’s balance and beauty wrapped in a beastly peaty robe. This is why I like Kilchoman so much.

1B: Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2015): 46%

  • Nose: Malt, sherry, peat, iodine, dark fruit, brown sugar, spice and candied citrus.
  • Palate: Peat, saline, malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, sherry, spice and candied citrus.
  • Finish: Long -> Malt, peat, sherry, fruit, saline and bitter alkaline.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Close to an A-. A touch more bitter than 1A, green citrus-like, but still a stellar whisky that I enjoyed completely.

1C: Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2016): 46%

  • Nose: Malt, buttery fruit, spice, peat, iodine, dark fruit, brown sugar, sherry and candied citrus.
  • Palate: Peat, saline, malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, sherry, spice and bitter chocolate.
  • Finish: Long -> Spice, malt, peat, tobacco and dried fruit.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Quite good and strikingly similar to 1B. I’m having a hard time fully telling the two apart.

1D: Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2014): 46%

  • Nose: Peat, caramel, malt, sherry, dark fruit, brown sugar, spice and candied citrus.
  • Palate: Peat, brown sugar, saline, dark fruit, malt, nuts, sherry, earthiness, spice and candied citrus.
  • Finish: Long -> Dark fruit, peat, candy sweetness, wine sweetness, spice and malt.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Oh man this is great. Balanced, crisp, full bodied, flavorful and tasty tasty tasty.

 

Kilchoman Sherry Finished – Cask Strength

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 5

2A: Kilchoman 5 years (09-14): 59.2% – PX Finish – 394/2009

  • Nose: Peat, sherry, cocoa, spice, dark fruit, brine, honey, sulfur and fresh strawberries.
  • Palate: Peat, sherry, iodine, cocoa, spice, dark fruit, brine, alkaline, caramel and blackberry syrup.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, sherry, malt, menthol, cocoa, spice and a bit of bitterness.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Full and rich with a great cinnamon spice and fruity sweetness playing against the peat.

2B: Kilchoman 4 years (10-15): 58.3% – PX Finish – 679/2010

  • Nose: Malt, cocoa, dark fruit, peat, brine and caramel.
  • Palate: Malt, cocoa, dark fruit, peat, brine, spice, candied citrus and caramel.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, sherry, spice, cocoa and mint.
  • Overall: B (83-86) On the high end of the B scale, but not that impressive of a cask. By no means bad, but not equal to anything we’ve had so far.

2C: Kilchoman 4 years (10-15): 57.2% – PX Finish – 680/2010

  • Nose: Buttery, malt, spice, cocoa, dark fruit, peat, brine and caramel.
  • Palate: Malt, spice, cocoa, dark fruit, complex dark sweets, peat, brine and candied citrus.
  • Finish: Long -> Dark sweets, malt, cocoa, mint, sherry and peat.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) On the low end of the B+ scale, but still quite good. Like a more complex version of 2B.

2D: Kilchoman Madeira: 50%

  • Nose: Funky, burnt toffee, bitter cocoa, peat, copper, dark sweets, dark fruit and Postum.
  • Palate: Fruity sweetness, peat, bitter funk, brûlée, milk chocolate, chicory, earthy, brûlée and copper.
  • Finish: Long -> Fully sweet grapes, toffee, ash, Postum, peat and cocoa.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Woah this one was weird. I didn’t like it at first, but I kept coming back to it over the night and each time I did I liked it more and by the end of the night I was really liking it. What can I say, I like the weird stuff. It wasn’t cask strength, but it was 50%… close enough.

 

Kilchoman Sherry Aged – Cask Strength

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 6

3A: Kilchoman Single Cask – 5 years (07-13): 57.4% – Sherry – 3010/2007

  • Nose: Cocoa, iodine, brine, peat, dark fruit syrup, strawberries, honey, graham and spice.
  • Palate: Cocoa, iodine, sherry, peat, brine, dark fruit syrup, strawberries, honey, graham and spice.
  • Finish: Long -> Malt, cocoa, malt, menthol, sherry and raisins.
  • Overall: A- (90-91) This one had a bit of a resinous character to it and overall was a heavy thick whisky that carried a nice balance. Really enjoyed it, almost an A.

3B: Kilchoman Single Cask – 5 years (09-14): 57.9% – Sherry – 85/2009

  • Nose: Cocoa, cherry heavy dark fruit, peat, dry sweetness, dried strawberries, spice and a bit of sulfur.
  • Palate: Cocoa, cherry heavy dark fruit, peat, spice, dry sweetness, dried strawberries, tartness and a bit of sulfur.
  • Finish: Long -> Nutty, ashy, tart sherry and smoky astringent oak.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Quite nice, but 3A outshines it by a noticeable margin.

3C: Kilchoman Single Cask – 5 years (09-14): 59.3% – Sherry – 424/2009

  • Nose: Cocoa, brown sugar, peat, cherry heavy dark fruit, sweetness, dried strawberries, spice and a bit of sulfur.
  • Palate: Cocoa, cherry heavy dark fruit, spice, dry sweetness, dried strawberries, tartness and a bit of sulfur.
  • Finish: Long -> Nutty, ashy, tart sherry and smoky astringent oak.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) The differences between 3B & 3C are minimal and barely noticeable. If you told me they were from the same cask I’d likely believe you.

3D: Kilchoman Impex Cask Evolution 4 years (11-16): 58.7% – Sherry – 532/2011

  • Nose: Grapey, brown sugar, peat, char, dark fruit, earthy, oily, spice and a bit of sulfur.
    Palate: Grapey, buttery vanilla, cocoa, peat, char, dark fruit, earthy, oily, spice and a bit of copper.
  • Finish: Long -> Grapes, spice, malt, smoke and caramel.
  • Overall: B (83-876) This one didn’t come together for me. It wasn’t balanced and I felt like I was fighting it more than I was drinking it. An odd whisky.

3E: Kilchoman Single Cask – 5 years (06-15): 59.4% – Sherry – 371/2006

  • Nose: Malt, peat, earthy, sweet, sulfur, nutty, ashy and a touch of dark fruit.
  • Palate: Carmel, dark fruit, peat, earthy, sweet, sulfur, nutty, ashy and a touch of spice.
  • Finish: Long -> Menthol, spice, oak, anise and sweetness.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Pretty darn good, but it came across super aggressive. Water helped a bit, but not much, and released a light perfumy character.

 

There you have it, 13 different sherry / wine finished / aged Kilchomans all tasted side by side. I was stoked by how much I liked the Loch Gorm 2014, because it was my bottle, and the Sanaig, because I have it at home, but really I enjoyed everything we tasted that night; even 3D had its merits.

This was a really fun deep dive into the sherried side of Kilchoman and I can’t wait until we dive into the 100% ex-bourbon barrel Kilchomans in the near future. That’s going to be another tasty night for sure.

Till next time, cheers!

Malt Nuts Kilchoman Wine Cask Tasting 3

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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