Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th Edition Review


“100% Islay but 100% Too Young”

Whisky Review # 623

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th Edition
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 4-6 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Barrels 
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 80-100 (July 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😐  Not bad but too expensive. Better go for Machir Bay!

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour) 

Nose: Young and Light. Some clear Sweet Peat, Medicinal, Citrus and Varnish notes lead the way. I find Barley Sugar, Smoke, slightly Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Freshly Salted Fish, Iodine, Dusty Road, Grass, Horse Manure, Lemon, Grapefruit, Sour Apples, Green Banana, Dairy, Pepper, Cinnamon and Menthol. It's quite similar to some of the other Kilchoman Malts I've tasted before with the exception of the fact that the 100% Islay is less peaty and pungent. The Alcohol is present but not in an overwhelming way. Quite interesting for such a Young Malt.

Visit May 2017

Palate: Young, Light and Green. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Corn Syrup (?), Cafe Latte, Green Apple, Green Banana, Pear, Herbs, Grass, Tobacco, Smoked Bacon, Grapefruit, Lemon, slightly Bitter Orange Juice, Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice and Aniseed.     

Finish: Middle-Long and Mostly Sweet. Some slightly Sour and Bitter notes pop us as well. Quite Dry in the end. I find Sweet Peat, light Smoke, Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Horse Manure, Dairy, Cocoa Powder, Green Banana, Grapefruit, Lemon, Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon, light Iodine, Herbs, Aniseed and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:
No need to add Water to this Kilchoman despite the high ABV. You can add a few drops though so just give it a try, drop by drop.

Rating: 83.5      

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21


General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

Kilchoman is located at the Rockside farm, close to Bruichladdich. This farm distillery only started production in 2005. It is owned by Anthony Wills and his sons are involved in the day-to-day business as well. It's a very small distillery that currently produces around 200.000 litres per year. The core range consists of the NAS Machir Bay and the NAS Sanaig. Kilchoman has its own malting floor responsible for malting around 20% of their needs. The rest is bought from Port Ellen. Drinking Experience:

The Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th Edition is made with lightly peated (+/- 15 PPM) Optic/Concerto Barley that is produced, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at the Farm Distillery. It was distilled in 2010 and matured for 4-6 years in Ex- Bourbon Barrels before being bottled in 2916. The 100% Islay was launched for the first time in 2010 and has been released since on an annual basis. The 6th Edition was released in May 2016.

Visit May 2017

🍷  The Spirit 

Kilchoman operates one pair of pear-shaped Stills. The Lyne arm of the Spirit Still points slightly downwards and creates a relatively Light, Peaty, slightly Citrusy Spirit with some clear Medicinal tones as well.

🌲  The Wood:

The Spirit matured in a mix of (mainly) First-Fill and some Re-Fill Bourbon Barrels purchased from Buffalo Trace. I'm not quite sure if the Spirit used for this 6th Edition is actually 6 years old. I was informed that around 80% matured for 5 years and was blended with 20% that matured for 4 years. I must admit that I can't be sure here so I will assume that this Whisky matured from 4 to 6 years. Any info on this matter is of course welcome. Please leave a comment! The Buffalo Trace casks did give some Vanilla, Oak Char and Cinnamon Flavour to the Spirit but there wasn't enough time to really leave their mark. I would love to taste a 12 Year old 100% Islay. Would certainly be much better!

Drinking Experience: Good. Quite Young though!

Conclusion:

There is nothing really wrong with this Kilchoman except for the fact that it's bottled at a very young age and simply misses depth and complexity. It's just another young Islay Malt. It's not unlike a young Ardbeg but considerably softer. Kilchoman manages to produce a Spirit that, despite the high ABV, does not feel too Rough and Edgy. Quite an accomplishment! My other main problem with the 100% Islay is the price. It's simply too expensive for what it offers. The Machir Bay, although not cheap, has a much better Price/Quality ratio. If you really love a mild, young, lightly peated Islay Malt, the 100% Islay is a good option. I won't buy a full bottle though as I think it's too expensive. My dream though would be to have the chance to, one day, taste a 12 - or 15 year old 100% Islay. That way we would be able to really enjoy the full potential of this Islay Malt. Go for it Kilchoman!      

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 10, 2017

Visit May 2016

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