I have a soft-spot for Kilchoman, ever since I visited it a couple of years ago. Currently Islay’s youngest distillery (until Gartbreck opens up), it’s a small, farm-based operation, where a proportion of the barley used in production is grown and malted at the distillery itself. It’s also set in a lovely quiet spot on the island, not directly by the sea but just inland.
Kilchoman was established only a decade ago, which means 2015 is going to be its tenth year. That fact makes me feel old, as it’s almost always been seen as the new kid. Ten years mattered a great deal in the days where age statements mattered, but it’s still certainly a milestone. Kilchoman has been releasing very popular whiskies at a young age, and has established a great reputation over the the years.
So what’s it producing at such a grand old age? Well, Kilchoman Coull Point is another young whisky. It’s a vatting of 4 and 5 year old single malt whiskies, which have matured in ‘fresh’ bourbon barrels. Of these, the 4 year old single malt has been finished in oloroso sherry butts for 4 weeks prior to bottling. Kilchoman Coull Point is non chill-filtered, bottled at 46% ABV for around £45 a go from travel retail.
Colour: very pale. White wine, Pinot Grigio.
On the nose: that’s a dreamy peat smell – very sweet, full of maritime notes. Gentle, yet with some fresh flavours: a citrus tang, lemon curd. Fizzy sweets – love hearts.
In the mouth: a very gentle peat, which allows the more subtle flavours to come through. Some youthful maltiness, then green apples, vanilla. Really fruity and floral, which opens up into quite a herbal territory. Vaguely yeasty and a little ester-y. Lots of mineral notes, like a dry Riesling. A touch briny, a touch oily. Again maritime notes come to the fore: a walk by the harbour. The finish is quite long and warming, and hints of peat return. It’s like drinking sweet cider in the late-autumn sunlight with woodsmoke in the air.
This is your everyday-drinking peated whisky, right here, especially at £45 a bottle. Coull Point is young, it’s fresh. It’s not going to set any records, but this is good value for money if you ask me.
If you’re reading this in an airport, with 15 minutes to go before you have to board and you’re frantically trying to work out whether or not to buy it – just buy the damn whisky.