Kilchoman Is Here - 120 Years After The Last Islay Distillery

So the first new Islay distillery in 120 years has finally released their first malt for the United States and we just got our first drop here in Redwood City.  Alex and I immediately popped a bottle of the Kilchoman 2010 Summer Release as we were eager to see how it measured up to other young Islay whiskies we have tried.  At three years old we weren't expecting greatness, but merely a hint at things to come in the future.  What we got however was more than drinkable for the present.  The Malt Advocate had given their last release a very good score, which got us excited as they are known for giving young whiskies a hard time.  The fact that they liked it was surprising.  As Alex and I nosed our first pour we both smelled campfire smoke with plenty of tropical fruit - dried mangos, smoked pineapple, and passion fruit.  It's rare that I get so specific with tasting notes, but in this whisky those aromas are clear and easy to identify.  The palate shows its youth, but never falls apart under its own greenness.  The fruit comes through, but plays second fiddle to the peat.  The mouthfeel is softer than you would expect (ABV is 46%) and the finish not nearly as rough as what I was bracing for.  I would happily drink this in my free time.  The best part about this whisky is that it is going to prove to be more than just a curiosity.  If you choose to buy one, you'll get a taste of what Islay's newest distillery is going to taste like, but also a very tasty malt that is much better than it had any right to be.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll