Kilchoman Winter 2010

kilchoman-winter-2010-4Back in Kilchoman’s early days, less than a decade ago for those keeping count at home, the distillery would put out seasonal releases for lack of having anything steady and regular enough for what their Machir Bay later became. Kilchoman doesn’t do this biannual release anymore, having transitioned to a more stable (though still not completely stable) line up of offerings. This Winter 2010 release followed the Summer 2010 release and, unsurprisingly, neither are readily available now. Still not sure how we ended up with this one, other than it being dragged out of some dusty cellar after gathering cobwebs for a few years. Not complaining in the slightest, however.

Distillery: Kilchoman
Region: Islay
Age: NAS
Strength: 46%
Price: $84.99
Location: Kilchoman
Maturation: First fill and refill bourbon barrels
Nose: Smoke, sweet, wet hay, bacon, brine
Palate: Peat, vanilla, citrus
Finish: Peat, sweet, brine

Comments: Water not needed, but don’t let us stop you from exploring.

Adam –  This one’s a little hot on the nose at first but then there’s that light, sweet beach campfire smoke I adore that eventually shows its face. Patience rewards. While not the most complex scotch I’ve ever had, calling it simple would be a disservice. I love the peat-laced warmth that sinks immediately into your chest, giving you a heart of fire. The whisky feels young but not problematically so. There are several underlying flavors that are just a little buried by the dominant peat and brine. It’s like a favored pupil, who you know will grow into something wondrous with the right teacher and some experience.

Jenny – Smelling a bonfire on the beach. Smoky and briny.

Meghan – Although I am normally a Kilchoman fan, this is not my favorite of their offerings. The nose is strong while the palate is weaker. There is some lovely smoke but instead of brine, I get more of a metholated, medicinal tingle across my tongue. There is a heft of peat, which is a surprise based on the nose. But the finish is quick and slight. It is possible my own palate is off as I review this one but I do not mourn that this was a special release.

“The finish reminds me of a lightly-burnt toasted marshmallow.”


Peter –  Very dry, kind of sour, buzzards are swirling around. Fiery, got a burn, but mild.

Ben – Nose is more forceful. There’s some fruits, but it smells like the peels of the fruits rather than the meats of the fruits. So, more like pear skins than pear meat. Definitely briny and smoky. You know there’s that taste that comes off the tongue, and what comes off your lips and mouth. This has some stronger aftertaste coming from the lips. It makes me want to swish it around in my mouth before. 

Caitlin – I think it is delightful. It is a good warming one. My cheeks feel rosy. I have a little bit of that bonfire sensation as well. It warms you up, a little smoky. I would drink this over and over. 

Henry – When I visited Islay (and Kilchoman Distillery) for the first time this past fall, I was often reminded of my childhood summer vacations on the coast of Maine. Kilchoman has done me the favour of bottling it. Despite the name, this lovely dram is the perfect summer whisky… of course, we’re talking about summer on Islay, not in Los Angeles. Lightest straw in color, with briny, tarry smoke (less peat and more char here) riding on a subdued sweetness – the Bourbon cask influence is clear without being overbearing. The finish reminds me of a lightly-burnt toasted marshmallow. By the beach, of course. Now leave me alone. I have some nostalgia in which to indulge.