I’m back after a short hiatus! I’ll be publishing new whisky reviews between Saturday and Monday each week. Today we’re returning to my first love – Kilchoman Distillery.
See this post for more background on Kilchoman Distillery. It’s no secret that Kilchoman is one of my favorite distilleries in Scotland. They are a small distillery whose expert craftsmanship can be tasted in each bottle. They are also the newest distillery on Islay and they started production in 2005. Their tenth anniversary celebration will take place on May 28th, 2015 and they’ll be releasing a special bottling that contains whisky from 2005 through 2012. But I digress, today we are examining their Loch Gorm expression which is their only fully ex-sherry cask aged regular release. Loch Gorm is a famously peaty loch overlooked by the distillery. This expression was first launched in 2012 and since then it’s become a mainstay in their line-up. The Loch Gorm I am sampling today is a mixture of a distillate from 2008 and 2009. It was bottled in March 2014 so it’s about 6-7 years old. Similar to Machir Bay and 100% Islay, this whisky is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: grapes, barley, lemons, campfire, sweet peat, salty ocean air
Mouth: lemons, sherry fruit, spices, smoky, sweet barley, tangy, salty, mossy peat
Finish: buttery, ashy, rich smoke, black pepper
Verdict: This whisky starts with heavy campfire smoke on the nose followed by scents of barley and lemons. I also detected grapes and red fruit sweetness. Finally if you close your eyes and take a deep breath you’ll smell the refreshing scent of salty ocean air. I think this whisky achieves a great balance between sweetness and smoke. Of course there’s a heavy helping of smoke and mossy peat given that this whisky is a true Islay. However the smokiness is balanced by a subtle red fruit tartness. Hidden behind the smokescreen are flavors like grape and plum. This whisky is really savory and it keeps you coming back for more. Loch Gorm has the distinction of being the only exclusively sherry aged whisky in Kilchoman’s portfolio. This whisky reminded me why Kilchoman was my first love among single malts – it has all the classic smoky/spicy complexity with an added bonus of some sherry sweetness to round things out. There’s something special in the water at Kilchoman Distillery because seemingly everything they release is absolutely delicious.