Kilchoman 100% Islay 9th Edition

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This is the first of two new Kilchoman releases I’ll be featuring on the blog over the next week or so, the other being their brand new 2010 Vintage. Today we have the 9th Edition of their 100% Islay expression, a whisky which they proudly proclaim to be made from ‘an unbroken chain of creation, from barley to bottle’. The barley is harvested from the island, then malted, mashed, fermented, distilled, matured and, finally, bottled at the distillery.

This edition is created from a vatting of 43 bourbon barrels which were filled using the barley crops from 2007 and 2009. It’s quite different to the last iteration of their 100% Islay release, in terms of cask make up anyway, which was produced from 23 bourbon barrels and 7 sherry butts. Commenting on the release, Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Master Distiller, said: “Our 100% Islay spirit pairs seamlessly with ex-bourbon barrels. The lower peating level (20ppm) allows the natural floral sweetness of the spirit to shine through whilst a higher age profile adds layers of overripe tropical fruit and stewed plums whilst the high ABV makes it no lightweight. I’m delighted with how the 9th Edition has come together and as ever, I look forward to hearing people’s opinions.”

Here’s mine.

Kilchoman 100% Islay 9th Edition
9 years old
12,000 bottles
50% ABV
£71.95 here

Nose: A rather briney start, with rockpools and sea spray, then lemon oils, and toasted cereals, with a slightly mineralic thing – something flinty perhaps? Smoked almonds, singed lime peel, then a vaguely herbal/medicinal thing (Tiger Balm?) too, then soft, sweet, peat smoke.

Palate: Up front there’s a whack of smoke, with dry earthy herbs, pine cones, charred kindling, and a peat hearth. Then there’s smoked limes, stewed apple, camphor, and toasted vanilla pods.

Finish: The brine returns with some rock salt, along with rolling peat smoke, and a raw barley sweetness.

Overall: That was a real pleasure. Very well rounded, remarkably complex for a 9 year old, and an excellent example of Kilchoman’s lighter style. The integration of the peat smoke, the coastal notes, and the sweet fruits and citrus combine exceptionally well. This lightly peated (20ppm) 100% Islay style of spirit produced at Kilchoman really sings – it’s not overtly smoky, and other facets of the spirit and influences from the cask are allowed to take centre stage. Delightful.



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