Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review

Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review

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

Distiller: Kilchoman
Mashbill: 100% malted barley
Cask: ex-Buffalo Trace barrels
Age: 7 years
ABV: 45%

Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Batch: 2008

Price: $100

Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review

Light gold

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.

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.

SCORE: 93/100

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.

Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Label

Josh Peters

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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13 Responses to Kilchoman 2008 Vintage Review

  1. How does this Kilchoman compare with Uigeadails? They are about the same price and start out with similar wash. I wonder if Ardbeg uses Buffalo Trace barrels? Love this review you’ve written here.

    Keep the scotch reviews rolling. As the old song by Staind goes, “It’s been a while.” A lot of us out in the big wide world don’t like bourbon. I started out drinking bourbon but when I realized how good scotch is, I pretty much bailed on bourbon. Even the good stuff isn’t really any better than beginning level or mid level scotch. And there are plenty of scotches like Aberlous and Mortlach that actually taste pretty similar to a really really expensive bourbon for a fraction of the price. And that’s not because they use bourbon barrels.

    Plenty of sherry casks from Speysides end up tasting like expensive bourbon for under $100. And that’s coming from a whisky guy who doesn’t even prefer Speysides, per se. I’m more of a Highland, Isla, Island, Campbeltown drinker.

    I’m drinking a 22 year old cask strength Chieftain’s Mortlach right now that blows the doors off Pappy 23 any day of the week. Very similar profile to an old Pappys but just more complex, a better balance of oak and sweet, and just well, better.

    Keep those scotch reviews coming. You’re good at what you do. And your site is big enough that you should be able to get plenty of decent samples. I just put up a comment in your glowing review of the Uigeadail 2013, btw.

    • Thank you, I really appreciate everything. This 2008 Vintage is different from the Uigeadail since there’s no sherry used and it would kind of depend on the day as to if I want to drink this or the Oogie. Both are tremendous whiskies, but there’s a crispness this has that Oogie’s missing so it definitely has that going for it.


  2. Been a massive fan of various Kilchomans since they first started to release them here in Japan a few years back. Ardbeg has been my benchmark since I visited Islay in 1990, and I’d have to say that contrary to received opinion the Corryvreckan is my ultimate Ardbeg, with the 10 YRO being my regular everyday sipping dram.. But the Kilchomans are fabulous fun, one and all, with the 2014 Port Cask being a particular favourite so far.

  3. Thanks very much for the review. I’m a big fan of Islay whiskies. Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulim and of course the wonderful Kilchoman. Based on your review I have just ordered a bottle. My current favourite single malt is the Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th Ed. See my review of it here.

    So based on your review I think I’m going to love this bottle.

  4. Recently finished my bottle of this and wish I had bought more! Tastes young, like it should, but it’s truly very tasty stuff, especially at the $55 I paid for it.

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