Tag Archives: Juniper

Kilchoman Spring 2011 Release – Very mature for its age.

Islay region – 46%ABV – $41 – $60 (another crazy spread in US prices.  And believe it or not, some places sell for more!) | £39

Kilchoman is a very young distillery on Islay in Scotland (young, like only 5 years old, young).  Surely they fall within the peaty style of the island.  With regards to Islay whiskies, only Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain have non-peated whiskies as part of their standard range and as flagship whiskies.

With regards to Kilchoman, from the moment of their inception, Islay whisky-philes have been watching this little farm distillery with a keen eye.  Since their inaugural release, their first REAL whisky (aged at 3 years and 1 day), people have had nothing but good things to say about their products.  The list of people with good reviews is seemingly endless.

As of a later last year, Kilchoman stopped doing their various releases (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and have launched a 2006 vintage – basically a five year old whisky.  To my knowledge, there has been only one indy bottling of Kilchoman and that was put out by the Whisky ExchangeI have had two of their OB single cask bottlings and really enjoyed them (I still had a tiny bit left from my Binny’s Exclusive bottling).

This is my first run-in with a non-single cask Kilchoman.

On the nose –  Only four years old, eh??  Bright and fresh with some smoke and peat and interestingly enough light notes of juniper (charred as it were).

OK, now some of those younger spirity notes creep through – pear drops, fresh apple too.

Some apple bread joins in on the fun as do some brine/coastal notes but it’s not very intense on that front.

Cinnamon over bread pudding.

Paraffin wax and a brininess as well.

On the mouth – Big, mouth coating, oily, smoky, lemons, limes.

There’s nothing young about this.  One could confuse this for a single cask 10yo Ardbeg.

Cooked apples, baked pears, old and heavily used rubbers/wellies.

Lots and lots going on here.

Finish – A lasting fizziness on the tip of my tongue.  Citrus notes remain.

In sum – This is a fine, fine whisky.  While I think I enjoyed the full throttle experience of 60%+ ABV on the two single cask Kilchomans (or would it be Kilchomen at that point?) a bit more, Kilchoman is showing some great promise.  If their whiskies are this good at only 4 years of age, I can’t wait to see what happened when they release a 10yo!  This is a winter warmer-upper.

Special thanks goes out to the good folks over at Impex Beverages for the sample!

Sweden’s Mackmyra “First Edition” Single Malt Whisky

Sweden – 46.1%ABV – $53 for a 1 liter bottle in the US £41 for a 70cl bottle in the UK (please note that the image shown on the right details the UK packaging.  The US packaging is slightly different).

If you’re a whisky geek like me, you might have been (again, like me) tracking this whisky like Aragorn tracks an Uruk Hai leader.  Our “friend”, the Uruk Hai, is situated to the left.

Non-dorks, please go see or read Lord of the Rings to understand the previous two sentences.

Luckily for me (and other US whisky consumers), Mackmyra is officially here in the states!  While we now have this “First Edition”, many other countries have access to a much broader line that Mackmyra offers.

So, what’s the deal with this particular whisky?  According to Mackmyra:

Swedish Oak & Small Casks

“Cold winters, deep snow. Summer nights when the sun never seems to set. Under these conditions, during more than a century, a fiery spiciness has developed in Swedish oak.  Now it generously adds character to the Mackmyra Whisky.”

“Our use of small casks gives time a new meaning. The whisky matures in a more intense manner, and by using different sizes of casks we get exactly the character we want.  Small cask – great taste.

Mackmyra whisky is matured in an old mine!

“You might have heard about ’whisky on the rocks’ but Mackmyra Whisky is literally stored in the rock. Deep down in the underground we’ve found the perfect environment for our whisky casks. The abandoned Bodås Mine is now filled with gold in liquid form.”

Time to taste said whisky…

On the nose A very intense nose (like the whisky equivalent of a close talker.  Step back, son!).

Very peppery & spicy yet honeyed at the same time.

Ok, after a couple of minutes the whisky is much more approachable and delicious smelling yet, still quite bright.

If this whisky were a spice girl, she’d be Delicious Spice.

An exotic mix of fruits such as cherries, lychee and banana (perhaps the skins of banana).

A warm summer’s night with cream soda in one hand and toasted marshmallows in the other.

On the mouth A bit herbal.

A touch of juniper which quickly disappears and is replaced by blackberry juice and a mass of spice.

As spicy as this is, it’s got a very soft mouth feel.

Some unripened peaches and a little bit of pear.

Finish Spicy, long and a touch fruity (lychee again) and oddly numbing my uvula…

In sum A very enjoyable whisky, especially on the nose.  Not as complex in flavor (with it being such a little spice bomb).  But hey, this is a young whisky… part of the thrill is the occasional big ‘ol pepper fight you get from them.

The mouth feel, again, is nice and soft and only adds to the simple pleasantness of the whisky as a whole.  This light-bright-fruity-pepper-fight whisky would be fantastic as a warm summer evening dram.  Tasting notes & flavor nuances aside, is this a good whisky?  Yes – I found it to be dangerously drinkable.

Special thanks goes out to Jonathan Luks for the sample!

Penderyn Peated Welsh Whisky

Wales — 46%ABV — $70 | £36 | €55

Penderyn is a new distillery in Wales.

Sometimes I feel like a dumb American.  I’m feeling like one right now as I can not tell you anything about Wales; nothing.  All of the geographical and societal information regarding Wales that I learned way back in high school went through my brain like a sieve.  I hope the Welsh people do not take this personally.

“Every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out” – Homer J. Simpson

I decided to learn a bit about Wales before I posted about this whisky and was lucky enough to find this great informational video from Ali G:

I hope this video helped you as much as it helped me!

On the nose Quite light on the nose – difficult to pull out the scents.

Let’s give it a few minutes to open up here…

Fruity and flowery on the nose (but as if you’re downwind of the orchard and flower garden).

Still, a very light & restrained nose.

A slight smokiness is revealed here along with some flinty & grassy notes and touch salty.

On the mouthSurprise!  This is a much bigger whisky than I would have expected from the hints the nose was giving me!

Very youthful with tones of juniper and even a bit of sage.

The peat here is very understated, practically minute.

Barbecue sauce.

Finish A sea breeze finish that lasts a good while.

The peat becomes more clear here and there’s a peppery quality to it.

In sum This is the off beat, odd duck, alt-country indy rocker of whiskies.  Don’t go into this thinking you’re going to get a Scotch-type like whisky.  Don’t go into this thinking that, if the label says it’s peated that you’re going to get a smokey whisky.  This is a whisky all its own.  That aside, and as much as I enjoy a young whisky, I think this would have gotten some benefit from a bit more time in a cask (or perhaps to another type of cask to add other elements).

Special thanks goes out to Luke O’Mahony for the sample!!