Kilchoman 4 2011 Madeira Cask

Kilchoman 2011 Madeira Cask 2.jpg

New series called “There will be Kilchoman till the score is paid”, in which I review Kilchoman until I run out of Kilchoman.

It’s a simple concept.

Guess where the quote is from? Keep trying, I believe in you.

I’ve said it before, probably too many times, that when I first got into whisky I mixed up Marsala and Madeira casks, based on a roommate who had a penchant for adding copious amounts to any pasta sauce ever. And specifically cooking Marsala, which she enjoyed, and I, it turns out, did not.

So once I got over the fact that Madeira was something different, and that it came in sweet or dry fortified wine… types? Flavours? Monkeys? You get the idea, there’re two different types.

So now that we’ve ensured that Madeira exists and I’m no longer super wrong about it (mostly), we can get to the fact that Kilchoman 4 2011 Madeira Cask is also a thing. Turns out back in 2011, when we were naive and not constantly wondering when the sky will fall, Kilchoman filled up 17 ex-Madeira casks with their secret sauce (the spirit from the still, stop being gross) and waited.

Then in 2015, fearing the future, they needed something to drink, so they cracked the casks and vatted up a special release.

But how did it taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Kilchoman 2011 Madeira Cask 1.jpg

Price: N/A

Region: Islay

Distillation Date: 2011

Bottling Date: 2015

Outrun: 6,100 bottles

Cask Type: Ex-Madeira full maturation

Colour: 7.5YR 5/8

Nose: Raisin butter tarts, smoked honey, raspberry jam, oak, musty/funk

That telltale Madeira taste of a Canadian classic, butter tarts. I assume everyone here knows of the butter and brown sugar filled tarts that are basically pecan pie but with other things and handheld? Of course, I don’t have to explain them. I’m sure the people in Portugal were aiming for that. You know, before my country existed (in its current state, not as in there weren’t people here prior to Europeans showing up).

That went long. Lovely rich caramel notes, great funk, and some rich jamminess. Very inviting, very sweet focused, and the smoke is around the edges, not the main show.

Taste: Salt & vinegar chips, raisin, basil, strawberry tart, taffy

Salty. More so then I was expecting. And the wine influence almost has a vinegar aspect, which, yes, is a bad thing to say about wine, I’m not attacking the wine. I’m just saying… it lent that flavour, and I ended up with chips from the peat/earth element.

Nice butter and strawberry from the wine.

Finish: Black pepper, musty/funk, brine, green grapes, steak, basil

There’s a burn/young spirit quality, that I typically sum up to black pepper, at the start of it. It opens up with some mustiness and funk eventually. It’s meatier on the finish.

Conclusion: I think this could have been better with some development on the finish. Or perhaps there was a sacrifice of the finish for the really, really interesting and tasty nose and taste.

Frankly, that’s why I’d buy a bottle. The finish has some course correction, in more of the “oh shit we hit a possum” way then the “the last political party did things that I didn’t like” way. Overall a great dram with lovely caramel element and great complexity.

What could they do with more than 4 years?


Scotch review #898, Islay review #230, Whisky Network review #1436

4 thoughts on “Kilchoman 4 2011 Madeira Cask

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