I (Dennis) am not the biggest fan of the combination of sherry and heavy peat. That doesn’t mean there are exceptions to this rule, I only tend to be more cautious when choosing what to buy.
And if there’s an Islay distillery that manages to do it well in my opinion, it’s Kilchoman. I’m quite a fan of their bourbon matured expressions, but I also love their regularly released ‘experiments’. It ranges from Fino sherry to sauternes, and from rum to madeira. Knowing their base distillate is always a pleasure to drink, these cask explorations are fun to taste and review. I certainly don’t like them all, but that makes the chase to a killer bottle more worthwhile, I think.
This bottle has been waiting on my shelf to be opened for almost three years. Why? I have many opened bottles, and I like to have some bottles closed to have something to look forward to. Looking at my shelves and the opened Kilchoman bottles at the time, I decided this one could wait. A couple of months ago, the time was ripe and I finally cracked the seal. Will this 2011-2016 Oloroso matured single cask, bottled at 58% be as good as it looks like? I found out pretty soon:
A lush nose of leather, honey, walnuts, raisins, chinese food, cooked carrots and onions with sweet smoked meat.
The mouthfeel is foaming in a way, like a sweet wave crashing onto the shore. It’s crisp and minerally at first, and then it coats your tongue with dried and tropical fruit and chocolate covered raisins.
When the foamy mouthfeel has bubbled away there’s spicy wood, raisins, chocolate and maritime smoke. It has a fresh hint of lemon cake and chlorine, before it gets back to sweet peking duck and tobacco leaves.
This is so good. Kilchoman x oloroso do their job again. And a perfect example that preferences are hard to quantify into a basic set of rules. Too many factors weigh in. For every confirmation to your own set of rules, there exists an exception. And that’s what we keep looking for, always.