Malt Mongers Israel Kilchoman Night


I’m part of a local whisky club here called Malt Mongers Israel (MMI). We meet once a month at the Milk & Honey Distillery to drink some whisky, chat and have a good time. Every meeting has a different theme. We met last night and this month’s theme was Kilchoman. It was also the club’s 2nd birthday (there was yummy cake).

I went over Kilchoman in my last post about the Loch Gorm so I won’t repeat too much. Kilchoman is  a relatively new distillery that is growing fast and capturing the hearts of many whisky fans (well the peat heads anyway). They have quite a wide range of expressions out for such a young distillery, and the average age is around 5 years, which is smart as they have older stuff but are keeping it to age and build up some good stocks.

There are also a lot of single cask bottlings as the distillery does not sell casks to independent bottlers and would rather bottle a cask for a specific group or club or store.

On offer last night was:

Machir Bay 2014 – A vatting of ex-bourbon casks. This is the core expression aged around 5-6 years meant to showcase their classic spirit.

100% Islay (5th Edition) – This is an interesting one. When the distillery was originally founded the intention was to use only barley from the adjacent farm, peated to 25ppm, and to have all Kilchoman expressions bottled at 50%ABV. Reality kicked in soon after and today the distillery uses about 30% local barley and 70% barley from Port Ellen maltings, peated to 50ppm. Additionally the core expressions are bottled at 46%ABV.

This expression is that original plan, it uses only barley from the adjacent farm, and is peated and bottled according to the original specifications, so from the seed to the bottle all in-house.

Loch Gorm 2015 – Another annual release, this one is matured in Sherry casks. Also aged to around 5 years.

Madeira Cask – Not sure if this is a once off release or not, but it’s whisky that has spent its full maturation in first fill Madeira casks. Madeira is a type of Portuguese wine which I have never actually tried, but I find that it does the most profound things to a whisky’s profile.

Single Cask PX (Cask 678/2010) distilled on 29/10/10 and bottled on 30/06/15 – A single cask bottling for Bresser & Timmer in the Netherlands. Finished in PX sherry (sweet, sticky sherry) casks. I quite enjoy the combination of sweet sherry and peat.

[I didn’t take notes for the Loch Gorm as I just reviewed it here and the notes for the Machir Bay and Madeira Cask are from a reddit reviews posted on 12/03/15 and  11/03/16 respectively, and thanks again to /u/j4ni for the madeira cask sample]

Machir Bay 2014

Aged 3 years*. 46%ABV. No colourant added and non-chillfiltered.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Very earthy peat, mineral salts, a bit of cereal notes, white wine, (smoked) apples.

Palate: Deep earthy notes, iodine, mineral salts and more delicious thick peat. And as a friend who doesn’t like peated whiskies said: tastes like a bonfire that’s just been pissed on.

Finish: Really long, remarkably so. Smoke and peat and some mild salts, still tasting it 20 min later.

Rating: Try this.

Global VFM: 3/5

Local VFM: 2/5

This was a solid expression, really shows off the base character as intended. Recommended for anyone who wants to know what Kilchoman is all about, just be prepared for something a little feisty.

100% Islay – 5th Edition

Aged 5 years. 50%ABV. No colourant added and non-chillfiltered.

Nose: Sweet malt. Honey. Grapes. Earth. Peaches. Grass.

Palate: Thatch. Grapes juice. Coal dust. Ash. Honey.

Finish: Long. Sweet like Bruichladdich. Grappa. Honey. Sweet green herbs.

Rating: Try this.

Global VFM: 2/5

Local VFM: 2/5

This was very toned down compared to the regular Kilchoman profile, it was much sweeter, kind of like Bruichladdich stuff. As an unabashed peat-head I personally didn’t like it so much, but I still recommend trying it if you get the chance as it is something quite unique, and perhaps that sweeter, less smoky profile might appeal to you.

2011 Madeira Cask Matured

Aged 4 years. 50%ABV. Matured in first fill madeira casks. No colourant added and non-chillfiltered.

Nose: Quite a light, mineral peat. Definitely some young spirit notes, oatmeal of porridge with a good helping of brown sugar and cinnamon. Lemon (fruit not zest). Winey notes, grape bubble gum, grappa. Overripe apples.

Palate: A moment of mellow fruit and then a very aggressive, young mineral peat and salt hits, along with more cinnamon, very distinctively cinnamon, loads of it. And then a little more mellow fruits, this vineyard peach liqueur I had in the Rhineland, lemon.

Finish: Long. Ash. Dry wood. Cinnamon (almost like fireball). Some grape bubblegum on the end.

Rating: Try before you buy this.

Global VFM: 2/5

Local VFM: N/A

Madeira finished or matured whiskies are always interesting to me as they can be totally different from a distillery’s regular profile. This one was no different. It was quite a wild ride of spices and fruits and some smoke too. I really liked the huge cinnamon kick in the finish.

2010 Single Cask PX Finish(Cask 678/2010)

Aged 4 years. 57%ABV. Finished in PX casks. No colourant added and non-chill filtered, bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Rubber. Oil smoke. Seafood. Red drink powder. Dry wood.

Palate: Boiled sweets. Sticky rubber. Fig jam. Woodspice.

Finish: Long. Bitter wood. Oil smoke. Dark sticky cough syrup.

Rating: Try this.

Global VFM: 2/5

Local VFM: N/A

This was a great way to finish the evening, a bold, young and sticky dessert whisky. I really love the combination of PX and peat and this one was quite a good example, although I have tried another PX finished single cask bottling (also courtesy of /u/j4ni on reddit) which I found quite a bit more complex than this.



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