Kilchoman has quite a few port casks in their warehouses from a non-disclosed port producer from the Douro valley in Portugal. Part of those were put to sleep in 2011 to be released three years later at a cask strength of 55% in 2014. So this is not a finish, but full maturation on Ruby Port casks, just sayin’.
While the typical traits of Kilchoman are recognizable – peat smoke, ashes, citrus fruit, vanilla – they are completely overpowered by the cask, that adds strawberry jam and raspberry milkshake. Some old, leather books, a dusty attic and that about sums up the nose. It’s just… it all seems a bit out of sync. It is almost like the Kilchoman spirit and the port cask have decided to tolerate each other, without integrating. Does that make sense? The port is like a layer on top of the Kilchoman.
The arrival is creamy and pretty spicy. I get those typical Kilchoman notes again – quite brackish in fact – while to port cask does its utmost to add red fruit, but… it clashes a bit. I get chewing tobacco, strawberries, cherry candy and rum-raisins and that all sounds delicious if it weren’t for the lack of balance of this malt. It cannot seem to make up its mind and that is confusing for my brain! Salty and smoky, as I am used from Kilchoman, or red fruit and sweetness galore? Darn, this is difficult.
The finish is very long and pretty spicy on chili pepper, candied ginger and cloves. The smoke lingers forever as if trying to say: ‘Hey, just so you know, I really am an Islay whisky!’.
Not really my thing. I like port, I really do. And I love Kilchoman. But the combination of the two does not convince me. One of the few Kilchoman that I’m not particularly fond of.