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Friday, December 14, 2012

Review 118: Kilchoman Machir Bay

Review 118
Kilchoman Machir Bay: 46% abv

First of all, the “c” in Kilchoman is silent, so you can wipe the sweat off of your brow, Choman. Stupid jokes. Secondly, here’s a little bit about Kilchoman: This is our second Islay Scotch review, and it is a particularly interesting one. You’ll be amazed to know that Kilchoman as a distillery started producing whisky in 2005. If that doesn’t make you more interested, then let me put this in perspective. Laphroaig Distillery, the Islay Scotch maker we reviewed last, was founded in 1815. Kilchoman is hardly even a toddler in the world of Scotch. So you’re probably asking yourself, what could that possibly mean for how old the Scotch is? This particular statement is a mixture of three, four, and five year old whisky, with the four year old whisky being aged in Oloroso Sherry butts. That makes this the youngest Scotch we’ve reviewed on KCM by 7 years. 

Does that mean it will be harsh, horrible whisky? Well we’re here to tell you more about how Machir Bay tastes. Here’s some tasting notes for you. On the nose, there is a large number of flavors to taste. Included in those flavors is a bready grain smell, with wheat, rye, and even a yeast scent. There is salt and fresh peat smell, earthy notes, seaweed, and green, vegetal notes including grass. One can catch black pepper, smoke, and tobacco on the nose. 

In the arrival, there is big flavors of tobacco and peat right off the bat, but also the additions of salt, dry rye and wheat, and even some slight honey. In the body, one can find ginger spice, nutmeg, bread notes, tobacco, yeast, wheat, salt, rye, and a little barley. The finish is what will overload your senses. It starts with that big peat you know, some tobacco, salt, dry grain notes of rye and wheat, big black pepper notes, ginger, earthy and vegetal notes, big salt, more tobacco, a mild red pepper flavor, ashy wood, slight berry fruitiness, and some bitterness carried on by the black pepper flavor. 

After adding water to the whisky, it generally takes down the intensity and calms the bitterness just slightly, but the tobacco flavor in this malt is still a big player in the flavor. So to give you an idea of the difference between this and Laphroaig on a general level, it’s pretty easy to outline. Laphroaig has a much more woody, ashy flavor with some prominent fruit notes, adding some sweetness to it. Kilchoman takes on that big tobacco flavor with dry grain notes, and has a fresh, peaty taste which outlines less woodiness or campfire type flavors, but rather a subtler, more refined smoke. It is complex and pleasant, and you probably wouldn’t guess it was less than 12 years old. Either way, it is, and if you can find it, it’s worth a buy. We can’t wait for older statements from Kilchoman.

Score: 9.0/10

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