7 July 2011

Kilchoman 100% Islay "Youthful & Yummy"

Despite being in its distilling infancy having only been launched in 2005, the Kilchoman distillery on Islay has managed to produce a small handful of credible, well renowned and highly regarded young aged whiskies.

Back in 2007 I tried a sample of their full on frolicking 2 year old new spirit. Even though it hadn't yet had enough birthdays for it to hit the all important 3 year mark in order for it to be classed as a whisky, it did show a wondrous wealth of promise and potential.

Fortunately I was able to reaffirm this not just by memory alone but by recently opening another small sample bottle of the new spirit that I had tucked away.

Kilchoman’s latest ‘100% Islay’ release is exactly what it says on the tin, or in this case the bottle. It may surprise some to know that it is infact the first ever Islay whisky to be fully produced from barley to bottle on the island.

One of the things you notice when you first pour yourself a glass, is how much the fresh and refill bourbon barrels used for maturing the whisky have managed to lift and influence an already first class spirit. Resulting in the creation of a real feisty yet finessefuly fresh three year old drop of drammage, yes you read correctly three year old!

The nose kicks off with a whiff of distant smoke from a fire at a nearby bicycle tyre factory, that’s been doused down by zesting pulped flows of lustful lemons and garish grapefruits.

A freshly baked rhubarb and ginger crumble with an accompanying jug of cold vanilla custard makes for the next set of nosetacular delights, along with a wedge of blackberry cheesecake that has the most marvellously moreish biscuit base.

The appearance of some blanched spring greens and a faint but confident mug of mint tea made with leaves from the garden and not a bag, add an air of satisfying yet subtle sweet balanced roughage to the proceedings. Followed by an unhurried hinted whisp of the coast and a handful of toasted almonds.

The palate which is immediately punctuated perfectly with a pinch of peat, plows enthusiastically forward with some lightly spiced segments of white grapefruit, Lemoncello liqueur infused honey and a spoonful of gooseberry and lime marmalade.

A slightly undercooked homemade pear frangipane tart and a box of Artisan Du Chocolat’s salted caramels make for the next set of sensations, along with a segmented pink grapefruit and another appearance from those blanched greens and boiled mint leaves.

Vivacious waves of vanilla and opulent oak ooze and infuse their way around the leftovers of the aforementioned blackberry cheesecake and its blissful biscuity base.

Once all the players on this palatable production have had their 15 seconds of fame, they then all gather to deliver a fresh, sweet light lingerette of a finale, that’s been complemented and balanced out by a last minute puffette of a cameo from a Por Larranaga Cuban cigar.