Kilchoman 100% Islay

Still barely over a decade old and thus not quite ready to release aged statements, Kilchoman has used their youth to explore variations on their spirit, often in very creative expressions. One of the rising trends over the past several years has been a focus on terroir. The 100% Islay (3rd Edition) is a dram where the entirety of the process is done on Islay. The barley is grown there, malted there, distilled, matured and bottled there. It’s bottled at a higher alcohol strength but the peat level is lowered compared to their other releases. That is not a common occurrence in today’s world. First launched in 2010, the bottle in this review is from 2012.

Region: Islay
Age: NAS
Strength: 50%
Price: $84.99
Location: Kilchoman
Maturation: Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace
Nose: Smoke, peat, syrup, citrus, caramel
Palate: Peat, brine, smoke, meat, sweet
Finish: Smoke, peat, lemon

Comments: Add a few drops of water opens up the flavor bandwidth while diminishing the smoke and peat. Either choice is tasty. 

Adam – I want to believe in this whisky, especially if I’m paying over $80 for it. I had a chance to first taste this among some samplings at South Lyndale Liquors, and while a few of the other Kilchoman’s I had were tasty, this one stood out from the crowd. More complex than I wanted to give it credit for, but I kept finding more tastes the further I sipped. I love the distillery’s mix of a little sweet (thought this had been aged in sherry casks till I read the label) and a little meat to the regular island range of smoke and peat. It doesn’t taste as young as I’m guessing it is, which is yet another testament to the distillery. Not every No Age Statement (NAS) whisky works well, but Kilchoman seems to have found some magic. There is enough peat, smoke and brine to let you know Islay is calling, yet isn’t so forward that it keeps some of the sweet caramel and citrus flavors from creeping in along the edges. And God, this finish is still going!

“Like violet perfume and lace hankies.”

Jenny – I get a very light peat and vanilla on the nose. Palate’s a little hot but I get a bit of that medicinal flavor, a little peat. A nice warmth going down the throat. 

Meghan – It has a very delicious charred wood finish. A nice salty tang on the palate. 

Michael –  It doesn’t have a lot of complexity but it has one robust, deep rich, smoky, peaty note that it does very well. It’s very rich. It doesn’t have a lot of layers, but it does what it does very well. It’s like a single rich sustained note from a bass. 

Mary-Fred – Sweet on the nose, and strong warmth. Like, wow. Perfect for winter? Powerful. 

Caitlin – This is like old lady perfume. Like violet perfume and lace hankies. In the best possible way.

Ben – It’s harsh on the outside and sweet in the middle. There’s some caramel on the nose, right along the edge.