Port Casks – you either love them or hate them. I know many that won’t drink a whisky aged in port, and many that would swear by them. I am not sure where I stand though. I’ve had exceptional whiskies aged in Port casks (mostly finished in port), and some over fruity and wine-y ones. I was really intrigued by the first Kilchoman to be aged in such a cask and released, and happy I got to try this dram. The first thing you notice about this one (like a lot of port aged whiskies) is the Colour. I don’t really mention colour when writing tasting notes, but special hues require a bit of a mention don’t you think? This dram is coppery, and lovely by colour, not quite pink, but almost pink. Distilled in 2011 and bottled in 2014 this is a very young whisky indeed (Even by Kilchoman standards, some Kilchomans are now 7 years old…), very limited (6,000) bottles, and Not surprising this one flew out of the shelves in record time, and were gone before you could blink. So, how good is it?
Nose: Very peaty and earthy with hot cinnamon gum, red fruit (berries of all sorts) , salty and a bit dirty just like we want it, some oak and also pine needles in the distance, and yes, some damp wood too.
Palate: big peppery entry, with peat galore, soot, and ash, but underneath you get a fruity berry / strawberry filling , the kind you get in candy or in chocolate filled with fruit… Very nice , and the contradiction between peat and fruit makes it feel like a peaty lollipop, kind of cool if i may say so… quite chewable, and gets malty and a bit oaky when it lingers.
Finish: Oak, peat, soot and fruit, with sprinkles of salt and brine. and the wine residue is also felt.
All in all this is a tasty dram, with a good balance of fruit, peat, and smoke. But I do think it does feel younger and less well integrated then other recently bottled Kilchomans. I think the ex-bourbon and some sherry finishes bring out the best in the Kilchoman, and maybe a port finish to an older cask would be nicer…
If you’re a Kilchoman fan, this is one to have, since it’s a nice deviation from the sherry / bourbon profile you could get hold of until now. I’d go elsewhere myself, and opt for a single cask Kilchoman (such as the Abbey, or the Whisky Site bottles I reviewed in September) if I had to buy one myself. Anyways, this one sold out fast, so actually you do not have to bother with the issue, unless you’re willing to shell out a lot more on the secondary market.
official sample provided by Kilchoman