Whisky Advocate

Review: Kilchoman “Inaugural Release” whisky

October 12th, 2009

The distillery sent me a review sample which I received on Friday. I wasted no time tasting it. I first wrote about this whisky here in July. This whisky was released in September and sold out very quickly, but maybe if you look a little harder, and twist a few arms, you still might find a bottle somewhere? (I’m still looking for one myself! My 50 ml sample did not last very long.)

KilchomanKilchoman, “Inaugural Release”, 46%, £37.00
Aged 2.5-3 years on bourbon casks and then finished in sherry casks for 6 months. Wow, this is quite stunning! Old-fashioned in many respects: oily texture, with rooty, layered peat smoke, coal tar, shoe polish, and hints of wet sheep as the foundation for a complex array of additional flavors: toffee apple, caramel fudge, blackberry jam, golden raisin, grist, bourbon barrel char, and licorice root. Long, smoldering ember, dried herb, light toffee finish. It’s all balanced perfectly, and very mature for its age. If you like smoky whiskies, track one down. (Not available in the U.S.)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

19 Responses to “Review: Kilchoman “Inaugural Release” whisky”

  1. bgulien says:

    Agree with you, John. One of the best 3 yo I have ever tasted.
    Let’s see hat the next batch will bring. This was a bit special, I heard.
    In November there will be a “normal” bottling, if you can speak of normal from such a tiny distillery.

    Last week I picked up another one, from a retailer near my house. Still has 2 left. Dilemma time!!

  2. John Hansell says:

    No Dilemma: Send me one! 🙂

    And yes, I don’t think I EVER tasted a 3 year old whisky this good.

  3. B.J. Reed says:

    Can’t wait to visit in March – Last time I was there in 2007 the only thing moving was a horse 🙂

  4. John Hansell says:

    First time I was there, it was pouring down raining. Even the horses weren’t moving!

  5. gal says:

    where can one buy it?
    online i mean? i thought the were all pre-sold…

  6. John Hansell says:

    gal, they were distributed to select retailers, but most sold out quickly. Still, I can’t help but think that some of them have squirreled away a few bottles.

  7. bgulien says:

    Not to rub it in, but after a lot of checking my bank statement, I am going to squirrel away another 2 bottles, if still available tomorrow.

  8. Christos says:

    It’s an amazing baby! Hard to believe until I tried a dram. Fabulous!!!!

    If it tastes like that in 3 years of age, I can’t imagine what it will be like when it’s 10y.o.

    Mind you Ardbegs and Laphroaigs!

    The new Islay Giant has arrived.

  9. John Hansell says:

    bgulien, you’re killin’ me!

    Christos, yes, imagine it as a 10 y/o…or even 8.

  10. bgulien says:

    John, would love to send you one, but as I understand it’s a bit difficult to send alcohol to the US.

  11. Marcus says:

    @ Christos: not a giant but now they are on the track. As the whisky demand is growing, they will have to sell a bottle or two :-).
    On the other hand the crisis won´t stop on Islay, so there will be interested times in future. I can`t await to receive the futures from Kilchoman in 3 (?) years and bottle my sherry cask …..

    I am with James Brown: “…Islay on my mind”…..
    (details for James Brown found here::

  12. John Hansell says:

    bgulien, if there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ll PM you.

  13. Gustaf says:

    Having tried killchoman spirit several times from the first desilation untill this release, my hopes were very high but I must admit that what they put into the bottles is much better than what I had hoped for. A very good dram and so much more matur than wha the age statement gives you reason to expect. It’s still unbalaced but not nearly as much as other young whiskys on the market. I’m realy looking forward to follow this distillery in years to come and wish them great success and I’m sure they will live up to my high expectations of them.

  14. Maltakias says:

    Think of the following scenario:

    “You’ve just started learning and tasting malt whiskies and have read about the GREAT names in business.

    So you head to your near liquer store and you see all these legendary distilleries and some of their great core range bottlings like Bowmore 12,Highland Park 12,Balvenie 12,Springbank 10 at about 30 euros(25 pounds,40$).

    Beside them stands the new bottling of Kilchoman 3Y.O. @ 45€.WOW!!!!

    Shall i continue…..?”

    Of course it sold out.The collectors tend to be more than the drinkers.Please put tea in the bottles and sell them to the collectors,and give us the distillate in plastic bottles to drink.I’m kidding but you get the point.

    If we complain about the Diageo’s manager’s choice,we should be furious with this.I understand that the cost isn’t big but if a newly arrived distillery begins with a 3 Y.O. bottle at this price and solds out,then the blame is on us and not the companies.

    Sorry to be so negative but that’s the way i feel and i’m not gonna hide it.

  15. Brian Bradley says:

    Hey John, if you are still interested in a bottle of th3 3 year you can try:

    I bought two bottles via this route, and I am in love. I only wish I could get a full 750ml bottle of the one month-it is magical.

  16. And yet another great, reasonably priced whisky isn’t available in North America.

  17. John Hansell says:

    Yes Luke, a bummer!

    Brian, I did find a connection from a fellow WDJK commentor who was kind enough to post a bottle to me. Fingers crossed that it arrives safe and sound.

  18. René says:

    When I tried it the first time(in the shop) I didn’t get crazy at all; at home I read about the ‘shop attacks’in England, which lead to lots of ‘sold outs’. Ringed the shop immediately, ordered 2 bottles and am very happy know, as it’s a very great dram. Realy great.
    I’m willing to send you a big sample, John.
    No problem.

  19. John Hansell says:

    Rene, thanks for the kind offer. Right now I’m trying to get a bottle through a fellow WDJK reader. If that falls through, I’ll reach out to you.

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