Kilchoman Original Cask Strength (2016 Release)
Single Malt — Islay, Scotland
Reviewed August 18, 2022
This scotch is infinitely unique, esoteric even. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all intense. The nose is an anchor to this intensity, sporting a nice lemony clarity, with undertones of peat moss, hay, nutritional yeast, ocean spray, and chestnut. The palate is slightly less integrated, with a vivacious array of flavors: yellow fruit, cardamom, roasted Kalamata olives, hints of chocolate, and salted cantaloupe. A dynamic barrel spice reveals notes of fresh ginger and Ceylon cinnamon and lends itself to a tangy addition to an otherwise oily mouthfeel. The smoky and cacao-like finish is a slow and hearty burn that you feel in your chest. While I live for an intense and truly singular whisky, I also enjoyed it with the rare addition of a few drops of water, which mellowed it down a bit. The nose exchanges that clarity for a more iodine feel. The palate becomes more muted, elevating sweeter cinnamon and cantaloupe notes along with candied ginger. A sweet pipe smoke finish rounds it out. This is a bottle that forces patience and plenty of space, kind of like a dear friend that you love and appreciate but whose energy requires some downtime in between visits (am I that friend…?).
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