Whisky Advocate

Review: Kilchoman (Spring 2011 release)

July 26th, 2011

And still more Islay reviews. I put this side-by-side with Laphroaig Cairdeas, and this particular Kilchoman tastes as mature as the Cairdeas (if not more) and, at what? Half the age? Plenty of flavors too! Great stuff coming out of Kilchoman. (Of course, some of you will naturally disagree. What is it with Islay whiskies and people being so opinionated? Must be the passion for the whisky.)

Kilchoman (Spring 2011 release), 46%, $65

A marriage of three and four year old whisky aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, with the four year old portion being finished in oloroso sherry casks. Among the best of the Kilchoman releases to date. The first-fill bourbon packs a flavor punch, while the sherry softens, rounds, and adds complexity. Barrel char, burnt raisin, boat dock, and tarry rope, softened by caramel and enhanced with notes of tropical fruit. Surprisingly mature for its age and very distinctive. — John Hansell

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

18 Responses to “Review: Kilchoman (Spring 2011 release)”

  1. Vince says:

    I obtained a “Binny’s” cask strength bottle of Kilchoman last year which I really enjoyed. It’s good to see their products are getting better with age. Looking forward to getting one of these to sample!

    • John Hansell says:

      The Binny’s Cask is very good. The delicate sherry influence in this Spring 2011 release (which is absent in previous US releases) really seems to round out the whisky and give it more flavor and depth.

  2. Andre Girard says:

    I always really enjoyed the Kilchoman releases, starting with their 3 months old new spirit available from the web shop at this time. Their products are improving at every new release. Very nice product. If you have a chance to taste the exclusive bottling from kensington Wine and Market Calgary, this was my favorite bottling of Kilchoman, a must have. Blind tasted with a Laphroaig and the 3 panelists prefered the Kilchoman instead of the Laphroaig.

  3. Logan Mann says:

    When will this be on the shelves in the US or is it already?? I have yet to see it.

    • DenisL says:


      It is already here on our shelves! I’m looking forward to trying it.

    • Josh says:

      It has been available in Colorado for at least past 6 months, picked up a bottle…had just arrived…no longer a need to pay top $ for an oz. pour at Pint’s Pub, I can enjoy at leisure at home.

  4. I think the Spring 2011 Release is their best to date. Some notes on that here:

    I also have some notes on a Single Cask, Cask Strength that came into St. Louis, MO
    Didn’t like it as well. The added age and the sherry finishing in the Spring 2011 release really adds a lot.

  5. bj reed says:

    I love Kilchoman and it is amazing considering its youth – This along with the PC series really has changed my view of younger whiskies – Congrats to Ed and Sam for landing the rights to bring it to the U.S.

  6. Bob Siddoway says:

    I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a whisky having “boat dock” notes, but at least it’s descriptive and intrigues me.
    This sounds like a tasty and interesting whisky, especially for the price…

  7. two-bit cowboy says:

    Not sure it’s just the Islays that stir controversy, John.

    We’ve had this one for a couple months — it is very good. Our Cairdeas will arrive in a few hours, and I can’t wait (but I will) to do the comparison later tonight.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Look forward to hearing your thoughts on that one, Two-bit.

      • two-bit cowboy says:

        2 younguns:

        Kilchoman Spring 2011: picture a wee girl (between 3 and 4 years old) seated with her parents in a restaurant. She’s very well behaved, well mannered, and quiet. You don’t mind that she’s at the table next to yours, and you tell her parents you appreciate how they’ve brought her up.

        Laphroaig Cairdeas 2011: on the other side of you in the restaurant there’s another family. The 8-year-old boy is not ill mannered, but he’s busy. Not loud, but in a way eye-catching and even fun to watch, entertaining. He amuses you so he attracts more of your attention than did the little girl.

        And there you have it, Red. I like them both very much, but, unlike John, for me the Cairdeas gets the nod because there’s more going on and it’s more interesting.

  8. Ed Kohl says:

    Thanks to everyone for the support of this new distillery. As John has mentioned in the past, it is a very expensive project that takes not only money, but a huge personal commitment to make a new distillery appear from nowhere. Thanks also B.J for your kind thoughts and yes, this was a real find for us. John, I know you had somthing to do with that. Logan, you should be able to get the Spring Relaeas at Friar Tucks, Wine Merchant, Lukas Liquor, or any of the Cheese Place locations. I hope that helps. I’m also looking forward to catching up with some of you during this fall’s round of seminars/tastings.

    • timd says:

      Ed –

      Do you know when/if Kilchoman will be making it’s way to Texas? Any plans for seminars/tastings in the Dallas area?

      I’ve enjoyed the 3 or 4 expressions I’ve tasted (I only own the Binny’s CS version) – and am anxious to try the sherry finished offerings.

  9. Ed Kohl says:

    Timd: Texas has been a start and stop state for us. We are in nagotiations with a ditributor now and hope to have product in the state by September or no later than October. I don’t know your location and with the size of the state can’t be sure it will be in your area. We will concentrate on the lareger markest first. As to tasting/seminars, I will be in the Dallas / Fort Worth area the last week in November. Check with Mike at Liq-O-Rama in Fort Worth.

  10. Mike says:

    I was buying a bottle of Octo the other day and the salesman recommended that I try the Kilchoman. So I did. To be honest I am not a fan of Islay malts. I keep some massively smokey ones around for those friends who say that they love it and can drink anything. Personally I find the smoke overpowering. In any case, if you like Islay malts, this is an interesting one at a great price point. I think Islay drinkers will be pleasantly surprised by this one.

  11. James says:

    My GF just got me a bottle. Now I love her more. This is a very good whisky for the age (its a very good whisky period). question is, how will they fare in 5 to 10 more years when they have some stuff that is the same age as their local Islay competitors. One can only speculate.

© Copyright 2017. Whisky Advocate. All rights reserved.