Drink Magazine

A Review of Two New Kilchoman Expressions

By Boozedancing @boozedancing

What you see up above are photos of Islay's very own Kilchoman Distillery that were taken by the West Coast Office (WCO) during his Single Cask Nation tour of Scotland in 2015. As I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, Scotland (Islay in particular) is a Top 5 vacation destination for me (I'll get there one of these years if it kills me! It probably will), so to say that my envy over the WCO's trip was as green as the grass at the Kilchoman Distillery would be a massive understatement. To add insult to injury (which is making me Incredible Hulk green with envy!), there's a rumor milling about that the WCO has a return visit to Islay on the slate for this upcoming spring. If this rumor is true, I may officially hate him. I guess we'll know soon enough.

Ok ok! That's enough envy for one blog post. Here's what this post is really all about...

In late December, the good people at Impex Beverages were kind enough to send us samples of Kilchoman's latest releases. One is called their Red Wine Release while the other is called their 2009 Vintage. We're far from new to Kilchoman and have had the good fortune of reviewing many of their expressions over the years. Here's hoping that these two whiskies are as good as what we've had in the past from this distillery.

Let's get on with our reviews...

Kilchoman Red Wine Release

What THEY say...

Distilled in 2012, the Kilchoman Red Wine Cask Matured has spent its full maturation term in the single cask type rather than being a 'finish', where the whisky only spends a few months in such casks prior to bottling. The casks, from the Douro Valley in Portugal, were personally selected by Kilchoman Founder Anthony Wills. The Red Wine Cask Matured follows Port, Madeira and Sauternes matured expressions released annually by the distillery since 2014.As with all of the Kilchoman range, the Red Wine Cask Matured is peated, non chill filtered and has a natural coppery red colour as a result of extraction from the oak casks. This particular expression has been bottled at 50% ABV, slightly stronger than their typical 46% ABV, the higher bottling strength adding structure and intensity to the dram.

What WE say...

The Verdict

  • Limpd: Thanks to its subtle smokiness and complex flavors, the Kilchoman Red Wine Release was very much to my liking. This was a very nice whisky.
  • G-LO: While I definitely enjoyed this whisky, I preferred the 2009 Vintage as I found that the wine cask aging diminished the Islayness a little too much.

Kilchoman 2009 Vintage

What THEY say...

An eight year old single malt and one of the oldest expressions to be bottled since the distillery was founded in 2005. The Vintage range is released by-annually from Kilchoman, with these whiskies spearheading the distilleries releases in terms of maturation. This will be the fourth release since the 2006 Vintage was bottled back in 2011. All three previous releases have been exclusively matured in ex bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace distillery, whereas the 2009 Vintage is a combination of carefully selected Oloroso Sherry butts distilled in 2008 and Bourbon barrels distilled in both 2008 and 2009.

What WE say...

The Verdict

  • Limpd: Overall, a very nice whisky, but with maybe a bit too much smokiness for my taste. If I had to pick a winner, I'd say that the Red Wine Cask was more my speed.
  • G-LO: Very similar to other Kilchoman Vintage releases with lots of delicious Islay-ness. Hot. Smoky. Lightly sweet. This whisky has it all going on. Me likey!


Many thanks to Impex Beverages for supplying us with these very generous samples!

Categories: Booze Review, Kilchoman

Tagged as: Boozeography, Drinkwire, Islay, Kilchoman, Kilchoman 2009 Vintage, Kilchoman Red Wine Release, Review, Reviews, Whiskey, Whisky

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