In the world of Scotch whisky, Kilchoman is tiny. It’s one of the smallest distilleries in the country, producing about just about 130,000 bottles of whisky each year. It’s also one of the newest distilleries around, having opened its doors in just 2005 — the first all-new distillery in Scotland in over a century.
Kilchoman, based in Islay and now the westernmost distillery in Scotland, is releasing its bottlings on a seasonal basis so those interested in the operation can taste things as they move along. Its first spirit arrived in the U.S. only last year, and a new one is finally hitting here. Kilchoman grows its own barley, malts it on its own floors, and gives its whiskys (so far) just over three years in old bourbon barrels before releasing them.
This Summer 2010 Release is a traditional Islay malt, massively peated but with some citrus underlying it to balance things. 92 proof, it’s very pale, reflecting its age (or lack thereof), looking in the glass more like a reposado tequila. The malt is a little rough and tumble, to be sure. It’s hardly cohesive, and the smoke and sweet feel a little out of balance vs., say, and old Ardbeg or (very) old Laphroaig. That said, it grows on you, and over time you get more of a bacon-like savoriness out of the spirit that is tough to find in much on the market these days.
B+ / $73 / kilchomandistillery.com