Whisky Advocate

Review: Kilchoman Autumn 2009 release

March 9th, 2010

 A few extra thoughts for my WDJK friends in addition to my formal review below. First, this is not available in the U.S., which is why I have the price in Pounds Sterling. (Anthony Wills, the Managing Director of Kilchoman, tells me it will be in the U.S. in 2010.)  I checked the Kilchoman website, and they still list it as being for sale with a two bottle limit. They also note that there will be a third release this month–something to look forward to.

I also wanted to note that I lined this whisky up next to the new Ardbeg Rollercoater (a marriage of 3-10 year old whiskies) and feel that Kilchoman tastes as mature as Rollercoaster. This is one of the most impressive new distilleries–anywhere! Let’s hope they can keep this up in the future.

Kilchoman, Autumn 2009 release, 46%, £47
This (rather young) Islay distillery’s second release. Like the original release, it’s aged for about three years and then finished in sherry casks–this time for 2.5 months, which is less than the first release. It’s in the same ballpark as the first release.

Once again, I am very impressed. It’s very mature for its age, with good viscosity, showing smoldering peat, coal tar, black licorice stick, burnt dark berried fruit, thick cut marmalade, shoo-fly pie (think molasses), toffee apple, cocoa powder, cinnamon and a suggestion of wet sheep. Long, peat smoke finish.

Advanced Malt Advocate  magazine rating: 90

36 Responses to “Review: Kilchoman Autumn 2009 release”

  1. JC Skinner says:

    A sugggestion of wet sheep?
    That’s why I love your reviews, John, right there.

  2. Marc says:

    I’m a very proud owner of one of these bottle. Picked it up for 50 Euros in Amsterdam. Like you say John, it is very impressive for such a young whisky. In a blind tasting many would make the mistake of thinking it is older than it is. I look forward to their 10yo in 2016! 🙂

  3. Gal says:

    I loved this malt too and blogged about it earlier at WhiskyIsrael. Here is a link:

    i agree, i was very surprised at its maturity for a 3 y.o. it’s quite better than the 1st release which is onlt 3 month younger (and not finished as this one).

    i cant wait to see how amazing it shall be in 5 year’s time and more. will be a cracker!

  4. Texas says:

    Although I will likely be paying much more than I want to when/if we ever get it in Houston, I am VERY much looking forward to trying this whisky! Sounds wonderful.

  5. Texas says:

    John, I have to ask. Have you ever tasted a traditional Islay whisky (Laphroaig, Ardbeg..etc) that was this young? If so, how does the Kilchoman compare?

  6. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    I love the Kilchoman–I even ordered a dozen of the mini one-month bottles. I cant’ believe the quality of this product for its age. I believe the taste is something balanced between an Ardbeg and a Caol Ila.

    I only wish Kilchoman would come out with 70cl of the one month bottling. It is a truly a wild ride.

  7. B.J. Reed says:

    This is a wonderful malt – Got a bottle about two or three weeks ago and it is amazing for being as young as it is – I have someone saving me the first release which I will bring back from the U.K.

    It is wonderful to be able to compare some of these young Islay malts – PC-5, the early Ardbeg releases (e.g. Still Young) and now Kilchoman –

  8. Neil Fusillo says:

    Anyone know if it’s available somewhere that will ship to the US? Not something I generally do, but for a much-touted offering from a new Islay distillery, it’d be worth the extra hassle.

  9. Whiskeyminis says:

    Just bought the Inaugural Release, which i like also very much.
    This 2nd bottle also will be on my shelf soon.

    • Gal says:

      from my experience no problem in nsending stuff to the USA.
      also, the Innaugural is nice, but not as the 2nd edition. it’s way too “new make spirit”-y and it lacks the spice on the automn release. considering , both are excellent. i think there are no left innaug.

  10. lucky says:

    You did NOT just pull out the “shoo-fly pie” thing did you? Betcha there was a slow smile when you keyed that in. Thanks for another well done review.
    Now if I could only choke back an entire pour of Scotch without wishing I was sipping Bourbon or Rum….

  11. Alex says:

    Exciting news – looking forward to its arrival! Thanks for the detailed review John. Scared to think what the cost will be when this hits 10 years old though…

  12. MrTH says:

    Shoo-fly pie! How Penn-centric. Take that, you Brits, with your allsorts and wine gums!

  13. I’m really looking forward to this finding its way into the North American market.

  14. Brian McHenry says:


    I bought the inaugural release in The Netherlands several months ago and I was dutifully impressed. I am generally not a fan of mucking things up with extensive wood finishes, especially with an emerging distillery (see Arran) as this typically indicates a production glitch.

    What, if anything, do you think the longer sherry finishing brings? What I appreciated about the inaugural release was its honesty. A straightforward, no-holds-barred rugged Islay whisky. Something I’d be proud to steel away in a flask while salmon fishing in an icy-cold stream. I hope that Kilchoman doesn’t go down the cork-sniffing effete of Bruichladdich.

    • MrTH says:

      Arran, young as it was, did a lot of finishing in order to be able to put a variety of bottles in the marketplace; Bruichladdich, on the other hand, likely inherited a lot of stock that just wasn’t up to snuff as it was. I doubt either will ever stop with the finishing thing, but I expect that both will be happy enough to be able to offer a stable core range as their own mature stock becomes available.

    • John Hansell says:

      Brian, it’s a trade-off. I like both for similar (and different) reasons. I liked Bruichladdich’s PC5 when it came out too for it’s honestly. A fun whisky.

  15. Texas says:

    Liquorland here in Alice Springs, NT had three single malts, Glenlivet 12 and Glenfiddich 12, and Bruichladdich 12 second edition. I chose the Bruichladdich since I never had it before. With the addition of a bit of water I am very impressed with it. Tons of fruit and honey. Good stuff.

  16. Chef! says:

    I’ve been looking forward to trying this for some time and cannot wait until I can get my hands on a bottle.

  17. […] John Hansell is very impressed with the 2009 Autumn Release from Kilchoman. […]

  18. […] some whiskies are great at a relatively young age, but it will be hard for most to develop the depth and […]

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