I love this whisky. I really do. I love it in a way that's difficult to articulate. This isn't The Best Whisky I've Ever Had - although up against objective measures it stands up as a very fine whisky. But I can't quite put my finger on why I'm so enamoured with it. To draw an analogy I feel like Kilchoman is a new band and I have just heard their awesome debut album.
The good things about it – the smell is amazing, it gets off to a good start with a massive blast of sweet smoke, I confess I couldn’t stop taking the top off it for a niff.
The taste is lovely. Maybe it’s the youthfulness but it comes across as very fresh. It’s a little bit like the Caol Ila I’ve described elsewhere but with a more creamy edge like the Laddie 10. It has a very appealing straw colour that might make you think it was a bit weedy if you didn’t know better.
As I say, this isn't the perfect whisky; it’s very smooth for its age but still a tiny bit jagged on the edges and the finish isn’t the longest. But it’s exciting, it leaves you wanting more. It’s the unpolished 30 minute album that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I can’t guarantee that other people would love this whisky - in the same way that your best friend might be utterly non-plussed when you introduce them to you new favourite band - but I’ll be proselyting.
What else is there to say? Well I’m clearly not the only one getting excited by Kilchoman, their various expressions have been getting some good reviews. The Kilchoman Distillery itself is a very interesting operation, Islay's newest distillery in 100 years, very small output, big on provenance etc but you can look all that up.
Some might take issue with the price and might balk at the idea of paying £60+ for this expression or others (£40 for their standard Machir Bay bottling) considering none of their whisky is even 10 years old yet. But considering the entire operation takes place on one farm (including growing the grain) the price does seem to reflect the input. Plus there is a scarcity vale due to the size of the operation.
As you might guess I'll be trying more.