Nose: Grassy, herbal, and sweet. Quite a strong licorice note, grass, sweet herbs, fruity tobacco, vanilla, cloves, white chocolate.
Palate: Sweet and medicinal. Sweet hay, honey, herbs, white chocolate, mocha, earth, grass, ginseng, and campfire smoke.
Finish: Long, malty, and herbal. Grass, barley, peat, campfire smoke, hay, licorice, allspice, leather, tobacco, white chocolate, tar, cloves, ginseng, and malt.
Thoughts: In my limited experience with Kilchoman, it strikes me as the least “maritime” of the Islay distilleries, and this one’s no different. While I love the traditionally briny Islay profiles, this is a cool departure. Of course, being from Islay, it still packs a peaty punch. But it’s also markedly herbal, defined mainly by its herbal/licorice note and peripheral flavours of tobacco, white chocolate, and cloves. It is youngish around the edges, but it comes together well, and the character is distinctive.
If I were to leave the review there, this whisky would have gotten roughly 88 or so. HOWEVER, too much air has really thrown this one off course. The last couple drams of this have been overwhelmed by a musty tobacco note that disrupts the entire balance. Drink this fast and you’ve got a very nice whisky on your hands. Too slow and all bets are off. It’s a pricey and risky buy, but one I’m glad to have tried.