Review: Kilchoman Single Cask Sherry Cask Strength - MA Indie Shop Only
Kilchoman Single Cask Sherry MA Independent Shop Release
Single Malt Scotch - Islay Region, Scotland
With so much initial convenience these days of massive varieties and lower price points, large chain companies and big box mentality is a way of life. While there seems to be a great revival of support in many cities across the US for the local mom and pop establishments, it is still a refreshing and reassuring sight to see when the little guys help each other long. It shouldn’t be a surprise when these smaller businesses offer up something of greater quality, whichever the industry, they’re doing it out of their own passion and drive to deliver something noteworthy and special to their customers; something that their customers won’t be able to find anywhere else...
So when I was first aware of an exclusive single sherry casked bottling of whisky at cask strength from Kilchoman that would only be available through a small handful of independently owned wine and liquor stores in Massachusetts, (my home state) I was very excited and intrigued by it. Then of course after having an opportunity to taste it I knew it would ultimately end up on my shelf. I also knew it deserved an appropriate piece of recognition given that the distillery is itself, one of very few independently owned these days in the Scotch whisky world. So the whole idea and theme of the bottling coming from “one of the little guys”, at least in comparison to the other much larger distilleries and companies in the industry, resonated very well with me.
This single cask whisky spent over 5 years in a first fill Oloroso sherry hogshead and is only 1 of 340. Bottled at cask strength 57.8% ABV
Being a single malt that has spent 5 years solely in an ex-Oloroso barrel, sherry aromas are naturally some of the first, but surprisingly they weren’t the absolute first. Simply uncorking the bottle for the first pour and taking a quick nosing before the whisky even made it to my glass my first thought was of straight cayenne pepper and the red hot cinnamon candies you find on gingerbread cookies. Once in my glass more of the sherry character came through along with the peat but the spiciness still remained right at the top. A nice departure from the norm of other peated/sherried malts. NOT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THEM! Just saying it is sometimes a good thing to stand out in the crowd... Kilchoman suggests cooked fruits on the nose within their notes and thinking about this for a minute leads me to a prune or plum note on top of the red berry sherry-ness.
The peat and sherry are much more up front on the palate. The peat isn’t intrusive in the least to the other flavors though. Like a cold smoke for meats with a very tangy molasses bbq sauce waiting in the wings. Very warming. A younger whisky is always bound to have that extra hot zip and zing of alcohol but one point I have always admired and enjoyed with Kilchoman is their ability to create whiskies that though are fairly young, are all extremely balanced and flavorful for their age. Though I don’t think water is needed as it strips the nose of the great spiciness and softens the palate a bit too much, the peat remains with a hint of bitter chocolate in the finish.
Bottom line it’s great to see a special whisky like this from an independently owned company only available through independently owned retail shops. So forget the big box for a minute and support the stores this bottling was created for; the shops that will be sure to take care of you and make sure you know all about the good stuff they may keep on the back shelves that in return keeps all the regulars coming back for more. #shoplocal
This Kilchoman single cask was bottled for and may be found at these retailers.
In the greater Worcester area and Central MA: Julio’s Liquors.
And in the greater Springfield/Northampton area and Western MA: Four Seasons Wine & Liquor