Back in May, I jotted down a handful of tasting notes for Kilchoman's Loch Gorm 2014 edition. I stated back then that, to my shame, I had yet to buy a full bottle of Kilchoman and vowed to put that right. Happily, I did just that, buying a bottle of Loch Gorm together with this bottle of their 100% Islay, 4th edition.
The Loch Gorm is long gone, with only a 5cl miniature in my whisky drawer proof that it ever existed. And, as I type this, I have just poured the last dram from the 100% Islay. So, before I carefully lower the bottle into the recycling bin, it's time for another live tasting session.
It's a sad day, but I will definitely be buying more Kilchomans in the near future because I don't want to be without one of their products ever again. Everything I've tried has been quite brilliant and I'll continue to support Islay's newest distillery by throwing money at them every few months. So let's get this show started.
There's a lot going on with the 100% Islay. It's non-chill filtered, has no added colouring, and is bottled at a robust 50% and as soon as you smell it, wonderful, complex aromas leap from the glass.
On the nose I initially get a distinctive grappa note, which gives way to vanilla thins, lightly smoked ham, dry sugar puffs, sugar-encrusted barley, hints of a well used wooden pencil case, dusty grapefruit, banana leaf, pulped paper, salt and vinegar Pringles, an empty cigarette packet, pickled ginger and a sliver of lemon rind.
Taking a sip, there's a lovely salty note, combined with thick apricot jam, old-fashioned liquorice wheels, white pepper, tobacco, burnt planks and there's a green vegetal note knocking about too - perhaps a butter-smothered Brussel sprout? Go with me here.
The finish is long with sweet peat, campfire smoke, pipe tobacco, spicy pepper and a little vanilla, and it's all wrapped up in golden syrup.
This is an absolute belter of a whisky and I'm truly sad to see the empty bottle staring back at me. I took my time with this one and think it's one of the best whiskies I've ever had. Stunning.