Brand: Kilchoman Sanaig
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (4-5 Years)
ABV: 46 %
Colour: Golden Sunlight with a touch of Orange (Natural Colour)
Nose: The Earthy Peat and Smouldering Embers are there but in an inoffensive way. Quite subdued for a Kilchoman. The Ex-Oloroso casks do make themselves known with subtle hints of Nuts and Dried Fruits like Apricots and Raisins. The overall feeling is Young, Mineral, Floral and slightly Yeasty. I also find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Coffee (Latte), Grass, Herbs, Honey, Band-Aid, Wet Rock, Shell Fish and Bacon on the BBQ, Apple, Grapefruit, light Rubber and Varnish, Orange, Leather, Aniseed, Pepper, Menthol and Cinnamon. Despite the Young age and the solid ABV, the Alcohol is well-integrated.
Palate: Young, Bitter-Sweet, slightly Medicinal and Spicy with Earthy Peat, Ashes, Sweet Barley, Bread Dough, Toffee, Pear Drops, Grass, Straw, Herbs, Oak, Coffee (Latte), Grapefruit Juice, Lemon, Pepper, Nutmeg and hints of Dark Chocolate, Leather, Varnish and Dark Red Fruit.
Finish: Quite Long, Spicy and a bit Edgy. Sugary Sweet at first but a little Dry towards the end when a light Bitterness pops up. I find Dirt Road, Ashes, Toffee, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruits, Salted Nuts, Herbal Tea, Lemon, Orange, Chilli Pepper, Menthol, Aniseed and hints of Bitter Chocolate and Dark Red Fruit. After some minutes a Plastic-like aftertaste appears.
I added a bit of Water and on the Nose I get visions of a Peaty Perfume. Maybe an idea for a new After-Shave or Shower Gel. Kilcho for Men! But Palate and Finish do no benefit from the added Water. Better sip it neat!
Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5
General Remarks: Kilchoman is a farm Distillery on Islay. Around 30% of the yearly Barley necessity is produced on the farm. The rest comes from Port Ellen. It is located on the West Coast and was founded by Anthony Wills in 2005. The Kilchoman Sanaig was launched recently, at first only for the French market. In the meantime it's available in other European countries as well. It's generally regarded as a Sweeter version of the Machir Bay. The latter matured in Ex-Bourbon casks and received a Sherry Cask finishing of around 2 months. The Sanaig (named after a creek close to the Distillery) matured in a 50-50 mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks (Buffalo Trace) and Ex-Oloroso Casks. The Sanaig I'm tasting today was bottled in 2015 without Chill-Filtration. The Barley was peated at 50 PPM. The Sanaig will be part of the core range and currently sells at an average 65 US Dollars (November 2015).
Drinking Experience Neat: Good
Conclusion: When compared to the Machir Bay, I find the Sanaig Sweeter and less Edgy, making it a more accessible Malt. This knife cuts both ways of course. Peat Bomb lovers will find this Kilchoman slightly mainstream while newbies on the Islay scene will judge it more favourably. It certainly is reasonably priced for a Kilchoman. I must confess I'm not really convinced by the Sanaig. It's an okay Malt but it didn't click and I found it to be a bit boring. For that reason I gave it a slightly lower score than the Machir Bay. Not that the latter is a better Malt. I just found it to be a little more Alive and Kicking!