Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1 (48.5%): After tasting a lot of brandies lately here on the blog I wanted to start the week with a single malt... The whisky in my glass is a small batch Kilchoman release bottled exclusively for US market. They started the batch with a blend of whiskies matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks at 46% abv and then added a single ex-Port cask into the mix at cask strength pulling the abv a little higher. In the end the resulting vat contained 70% ex-Bourbon 5% ex-Sherry and 25% ex-Port aged whiskies and yielded only 1260 bottles nationwide.
Color: White wine, pale straw color with very oily and dense legs slowly evolving from small teardrops all around the glass. Very impressive viscosity from a relatively low abv whisky actually...
Nose: Entering the still room of an Islay distillery: Peated new make, hot copper and steam. And then taking a stroll to the nearby beach: Reminiscences of a bonfire from last night, ocean spray and wet sand. Plastic fuel canisters and oil soaked towels laying around on the deck of a fishing boat. Dried strawberries, NY diner style lemon meringue pie and fried bananas. A couple drops of water add gummi bears, candied fruit chunks and fruit gums. Bruised raspberries and red currants jam.
Palate: Dry soot, cigarette ash and lemon curd. Mixed color peppercorns, cranberry juice and Port wine (duh...). Dried fish, seaweed and crunchy malt. Creamy and doughy texture with lemon cookies and shortbread. Adding water thins out the texture a little but also shifts the palate to a sweeter side: Tutti Frutti, moist fruit cake and strawberry ice cream.
Finish: Long and sweet... Four fruit jam, salted caramel drops and milk chocolate.
Overall: Although I am interested always in ex-Bourbon barrel aged Kilchomans or batches with a higher percentage of ex-Bourbon barrels I did enjoy this bottling quite a lot. That single additional Port cask brought some colorful, fruity and jammy notes to the table... Peated whiskies matured in Port casks can create some wonderful whiskies when used in the right amount in a batch and I think they pretty much nailed it with this one. Also them labeling this release as Batch No.1 hints that there will be or maybe already are more batches in US possibly using different cask combinations and it sounds pretty exciting actually.