Today we go back to Feis Ile, which mainly took place digitally this year, but which nevertheless resulted in a number of festival bottlings, like this Kilchoman 12 years old. Last week I reviewed that beautiful Port Charlotte so I’m curious what this Kilchoman will have to say.

The nice thing about Kilchoman is that it seems to be developing a bit more now, at least that is my impression. Previously it was always fine, but it never really appealed to me. It was promising but no more than that. However, that changed with the 100% Islay edition of 2019, which for me certainly showed that a few extra years did indeed yield a nice and interesting whisky. This Kilchoman 12 years old is even a few years older and is the oldest Kilchoman I have tasted to date. Will this one surprise me again?

This Kilchoman has matured in ex-bourbon barrels and is bottled at 54.2% ABV.

Kilchoman 12 years old tasting notes:

Nose: a certain freshness combined with peat. Bonfire smoke, but this disappears rather quickly. Seaweed. A hint of pencil shavings. Followed by some fresh lemon juice and freshly cut grass. Then it goes towards vanilla. Somewhat floral even. Grapefruit. Great nose! Almost elegant even. With water: not much different, just softer and somewhat more towards the vanilla element. There is also candy-like sweetness.

Taste: Peat smoke and it’s a bit briny. Unfortunately, I’m missing the freshness from the nose here. Liquorice, salt and pepper. Caramel too. With water: this is better. It’s creamier now. It adds vanilla and milk chocolate. Also sweeter with plenty of honey.

Finish: mid-long with salt, white pepper and also plenty of liquorice. With water: sweeter, all the spices are gone.

It’s nice, but especially the nose. It definitely needs water to do a little more with the taste, otherwise, it’s quite intense and it’s mainly the alcohol that dominates here. It’s still tasty though, but I expected just a little bit more from it.

photo credit: Whiskybase