Kilchoman Sanaig (46.0%): After having fun an entire month with the malternative January on tire-bouchon we are back on track. There are a lot of samples waiting for me. First one on the desk is Kilchoman Sanaig... It is a vat of whiskies matured ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks like Machir Bay but this time heavier on the Oloroso side while Machir Bay was quite the opposite.
Color: Polished copper with almost reddish orange hue.
Nose: Burnt hay, barbecue charcoal and dry peat. I remember from my childhood my mom burning half of a fresh lemon on the stove after frying fish to clear the smell in the kitchen... It very much reminded me that smell: Burnt lemon zest mixed with smoke, salt and fish. Milk chocolate, canned pineapple slices and almond milk. Tart table grapes, old musty dry sherry and wet wood. Currant jam, cigar smoke, old leather suitcases and leather upholstery.
Palate: It has a quite thin mouthfeel but creamy. Peaches, red plums, damson plums and confectioners sugar at first. Almost like an eau de vie, very young... Gets more savory in time: Sea salt, wet beach sand, cocoa nibs, raspberry ice tea and dried cranberries. Black pepper, slightly burnt banana peppers on barbecue and heavily roasted grains. Fireplace ash, buttermilk and smoked kippers. Green asparagus and bitter greens.
Finish: Medium long, dry and tart. Cigarette ash, burnt lemon peel and toasted rosemary leaves.
Overall: Cannot help myself comparing it to Machir Bay (which I like a lot) and I find it younger, drier and on the verge of going out of balance. Well, for a person like me who loves the young peaty whiskies out of ex-bourbon casks only I should have expected this regardless... But somehow it feels like the casks were married the day before I bought the bottle. I always thought that sherry casks especially with heavily peated spirits need more time than ex-bourbon barrels to add their magic to the whisky or maybe I like peaty whiskies aged in sherry casks older regardless. We all know that Kilchoman is producing great tasting spirit, no doubt about it and I am sure this recipe will get better and better in time but for now if I have to choose one I would definitely prefer Machir Bay over Sanaig.