2nd Limited Release 2021: PX Sherry Cask Matured Edition

As already announced and presented at the Kilchoman Online Tasting with George and James Wills on 8 April, the second Limited Release of 2021 is a PX Sherry Cask Matured Edition. It will be available for the first time in the Kilchoman Online Shop from Wednesday, 5 May, and then at local retailers worldwide later in the week.

Casks that previously contained the extremely sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry are mostly used for finishing, as with full maturation there is a risk that they will dominate the whisky character after a relatively short period of storage. Kilchoman has not only released over 70 PX finish single cask bottlings in recent years, but also several PX single cask full maturations last year, the latter interestingly all with the lighter peated 100% Islay distillate, while the finishings were based on Port Ellen malt peated at 50 ppm, with one or two exceptions.

With the PX Sherry Cask Matured Edition, Kilchoman is now releasing a major PX release in an edition of 12,000 bottles for the first time. For the compilation, Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal spent many days in the warehouses, tasting endless numbers of casks and cask combinations to find the perfect balance of character, constructing a whisky that showcases the rich sweet flavours of Pedro Ximénez sherry but also reflects the signature flavours of the Kilchoman spirit. In the end, they decided on a vatting of 33 casks, nine of which were PX full maturations from 2015 and 24 PX finishes, distilled in 2013 and finished in PX casks for between 12 and 18 months after an initial maturation in bourbon barrels. The exclusive use of PX full maturation casks would have dominated the Kilchoman distillery character too much, according to Anthony Wills. The mixture of roughly 2/3 finished casks and 1/3 full maturation casks, all with a phenolic content of 50 ppm, would then have produced the desired balance of maritime peat smoke notes, citrus and fruit notes and a pronounced honey sweetness.

“Pedro Ximénez casks aren’t always the easiest to work with. That was why we decided on a combination of full maturation and finishing, to balance the distinct PX influence with that of our spirit. I’m delighted with the result; big and bold but with a delightful poise and balance of flavour,” Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder & MD

Anthony and Robin also tested the release in different alcohol strengths and decided on an unusual 47.3% abv (Kilchoman’s limited releases usually have an alcohol content of 46% or 50%). At 47.3%, the whisky had more assertiveness and allowed for the natural citrus character of the Kilchoman spirit to shine through.

Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal tasting cask samples. Picture by Kilchoman Distillery