Kilchoman 4 2012 Red Wine Cask

Kilchoman Red Wine Cask 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/j4ni for the sample.

Ongoing 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.

Each year, without a pause (so far), Kilchoman has released a new whisky which has been matured in a different type of cask. These vattings are limited runs, bottled at a higher strength than the typical (50%, versus the typical 46%), and are peated and non-chill filtered, like the standard releases.

In the past, we’ve seen Port, Madeira and Sauternes casks released. These don’t differ too much from standard releases from other distilleries and are something whisky fans are used to. However in 2017, seemingly during humanity darkest times, they released something we’re just starting to get used to; A whisky aged in ex-red wine casks.

Kilchoman 4 2012 Red Wine Cask was placed in Douro Valley red wine casks in 2012 and pulled just before they hit five years old.

What type of red wine? It’s not stated. And oddly, that makes sense. For a long time, grape growers in the Douro Valley grew their grapes without knowing what varietal they are. And while this has since changed because, well, no shit, you need to know what you’re using, the area has a diverse range of varietals used.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Kilchoman Red Wine Cask 1.jpg

Price: No idea

Region: Islay

Distilled: 2012

Bottled: 05.10.2017

Cask Type: Douro Valley Red Wine Casks

Number of Bottles: 5,000

Abv: 50%

Colour: 7.4YR 6/8

Nose: Plum, orange cake, brine, funk, caramel, M&Ms

Interesting nose. It’s rich like a fully matured sherry cask whisky, however more tart than I would expect from these whiskies. There’s more funk, more brine here. At first, it’s almost like the smell of sweat.

Which is a fun smell, if you really think about it. And are a pervert.

Taste: Rich caramel, ginger, plantains, brine

Rich caramel on the taste. Lots of spice, salt, and even some plantain, starch like notes. It’s not going to blow you away with complexity. It’s simpler, and perhaps this is one of the few times you pick up the youth in a Kilchoman.

Finish: Smoked chicken, grass, orange Madeleine, plum, thyme

Lovely umami driven, complex finish. If the taste is lacking in complexity yet giving you strong flavours, then the finish is blending the flavours, jumping about.

This may be a bit much for some people. For me? It’s a bunch of random flavours, and that wins me over quickly. Too bad I’m not the biggest orange fan.

Conclusion: So one thing where these reviews jump between my own personal view and an attempt at an objective review is thus: I’m not the biggest orange fan.

My final score represents this quite well. There’s a lot of orange flavour here. That acidic nature that’s beloved in wine and even in whisky is turning me off a bit.

I really think they have something here. If I was Kilchoman, I’d be going down to Portugal and bringing as many casks as I can get home. Try this if you can. It’s worth it. Just not so much for orange hating people like me.


Scotch review #902, Islay review #233, Whisky Network review #1439

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