How important is wood when it comes to aging scotch whisky? Ask the lads at Kilchoman or, better yet, grab yourself a glass of the Kilchoman 2008 Vintage. At only 7 years old this whisky out performs some whiskies that have at least 3 years over it and I think that a lot of that has to do with the barrels. Kilchoman is very particular about the casks used to age their whisky. Kilchoman sources theirs directly from Buffalo Trace and ships them over whole to retain their original integrity.
Kilchoman starts life as Ardbeg, leaving Port Ellen Maltings at the exact same 50 ppm spec as the peaty giant. Different fermentation and distillation methods lead to a new make that will be different from each other, but the wood is the real catalyst that brings out all of the amazing flavors and aromas tucked away in the initially clear spirit. Starting with great malt, getting to a clean new make and then putting that spirit into “fresh” barrels used to age amazing bourbon… it’s easy to see why Kilchoman keeps pumping out one tasty whisky after another.
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% malted barley
Cask: ex-Buffalo Trace barrels
Age: 7 years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review
Bold peat rides atop rich layers of honey, vanilla, saline, apple heavy orchard fruit and malt. Lighter notes of of melon, bread and dried berries also come through.
Peat leads followed by lovely notes of malt, honey, vanilla, complex orchard fruit, a bit of spice and smoked meat. A dusting of orange candy, dried fruit and toffee lend additional dimension.
Long and filled with peat, dried fruit, honey and graham crackers.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Perfectly balanced, rich full body and a soft oily texture.
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage has a crisp, bright, almost refreshing aroma; a crisp, bright, complex and nuanced palate; a long flavorful finish and a razor sharp balance. This… this is good whisky. Seriously, what’s not to like? The longer it sits the more it opens and sipping on this over the course of a half hour continually brought up subtle changes. Sometimes it was a bit sweeter, sometimes a bit more rustic, sometimes the peat threatened to overshadow – but never did – and sometimes the orchard fruit came through like a cornucopia of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and anything else that’s sweet and has a pit, but it always retained its balance.
A friend warned me that the Kilchoman 2008 Vintage was one of the best releases of Kilchoman ever put out and they were right. I found myself wanting to drink this, and only this, for about a week straight. This vintage is dangerously good. The only way it could get any better is if it had a bit of sherry and maybe a bit of darker earthiness from a touch of sulfur or wood to give it additional dimension.
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose -
- Palate -
- Finish -
- Balance, Body & Feel -
Kilchoman 2008 Vintage is rich, robust, complex, aromatic and ooooh so tasty. If you’re a fan of big peaty whiskies that have a subtle side to them then I can’t recommend this enough.