September 11, 2014

A Pair of Single Barrel Gems from Kilchoman - Impex and Binny's Exclusive Barrel Picks!

We're really quite nuts for Kilchoman.  They've got this raw young energy bursting with peat, smoke, and fresh farm-to-bottle quality that sets our senses reeling.  When we found out that our friends at Impex (the guys that import The Exclusive Malts) were doing a barrel pick of Kilchoman - aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels and finished in Pedro Ximinex sherry barrels (did we mention that's our favorite combination??) we got very pumped indeed.  Very pumped indeed.  And how better to taste this new young Islay beauty than head-to-head with another Impex Kilchoman private cask, the "Barrel Room" pick from Binnys?  Here for your reading pleasure are these two new sherried beauties lined up for a classic SmokyBeast kind of evening...

Impex Exclusive Kilchoman, Cask 494
Distilled 10/2/2008, bottled 1/29/2014, 119.2 proof

Nose:  Classic Kilchoman:  smoldering peat, fresh farm grains, white chocolate, sweet grapes, little flecks of celery, pepper flakes, mint, tarragon, thyme, and a hint of vanilla / baking powder.  

Palate:  Again. like we've come to expect from Kilchoman...  While the nose is big in-your-face peat smoke, the tongue is soft, round, and mellow.  Chewy and thick for such a young malt, we get black licorice covered in chocolate (Good & Plenty anyone?), smoked trout, and crispy sage.  An all out fresh attack on the senses, totally unexpected and totally awesome.  

Finish:  And we're back to the deep long smoke & peat finish.  Living right up to its expectation as the new young beast from Islay.  Smoke just crawls up your jaw and the sides of your mouth.  The little plums and strawberry jam of the sherry make themselves present on the finish.  And the big cask strength spirit warmth doesn't shy away, but also doesn't overwhelm - just sitting perfectly in the pocket with the big flavors of this whisky.  We didn't even think of adding water at almost one hundred and twenty proof!  Enough said...

Kilchoman Single Cask 3010 
"The Barrel Room" for Binny's Chicago

This awesome bottle was one of the warriors in our Battle of the Beasts and scored really well against some legendary peat monsters.  It's still available at Binny's.  Granted $110 is a little expensive for a 5-year malt, but this may be the last cask strength single sherry cask Kilchoman you'll be able to get for a while.  (we bought two, one for drinking and one for good measure!)

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Very strong compact and punchy smoke.  Like match heads, surrounded by some florals - tarragon, lilies, then the familiar salted nuts, cocoa, olive oil.  This one feels less sweet and chocolaty and more punchy and smoky.  A diesel peat lovers dream of a nose.

Palate:  This one stays strong in the smoke right through the palate.  Smoldering campfire rocks, sea air, hot spicy mesquite bbq.  The sherry influence is more tannic and adds an herbal tartness that goes really well with the smoke.  

Finish:  On and on for days, this one is a delicious tight smoky beast.  First class peat-head finish.  


What is there to say except the Kilchoman is a smoky beast kind of dram!  The Impex exclusive barrel is rounder and has more sweetness to it, while the Binny's selection is more straight ahead smoky and powerful.  They're both awesome and showcase the freshness and flat out ballsy young Islay style pioneered by Kilchoman.  If you haven't yet tried the new Islay (Kilchoman is the first new Islay distillery in 150 years!), start with one of their core offerings: Machir Bay or Loch Gorm.  If you fall in love like we did, pick up one of these single casks for a real knock out.  You can end any whisky tasting with this bad boy and it's sure to be remembered!  


P.S.!!!  We just got word that Kilchoman is releasing a PX cask as an addition to their standard line.  Awesome news!  Stay tuned for a review as soon as we can get our hands on some.  


  1. I couldn't agree more about the quality of Kilchoman! I recently picked up Machir Bay as part of my own Scotch quest and was blown away. Such high quality flavors from such a relatively young distillery. I am dying to try these single cask bottles... now I'm on the hunt. Great review!!

    1. Thanks Joseph, it's a cool brand to collect because even the standard bottles are dated and will change from year to year. The single casks are a little pricey but the cask strength really does kick things up a notch if you feel like treating yourself. Great things ahead for this distillery for sure! Thanks for reading. cheers/SB