Kilchoman Sauternes Cask Matured 2024 Edition announced

Since 2014, the Kilchoman distillery has been releasing one or two limited edition bottlings every year, which have been matured (or more rarely: finished) in different wine casks. With a new Sauternes Cask Matured Edition, Kilchoman has now announced the first of these limited editions for 2024, which will be followed by a Port Cask Matured Edition in autumn.

Kilchoman founder and master blender Anthony Wills selected both 1st fill and 2nd fill Sauternes wine casks from 2017 and 2018 for this third limited Kilchoman Sauternes cask edition (the exact ratio is stated as 22% fresh and 78% refill casks), which should result in a perfect balance of Sauternes wine cask influence and the typical Kilchoman distillery character.

Anthony Wills has often emphasised in the past that maturing whisky in Sauternes casks is a challenge, particularly full-term maturation, that´s why it is so rare. First-fill casks in particular very quickly give the whisky matured in them a dominant Sauternes character, whereas it takes a very long time for the whisky to achieve the right structure and balance. For precisely these reasons, he was not entirely satisfied with the first Sauternes Cask Matured Limited Edition released by Kilchoman in 2016, which was created from five-year-old first-fill casks. For the second Sauternes Cask Limited Edition, released in 2018, Anthony therefore opted for a Sauternes finish of five months rather than full maturation. Since then, numerous Sauternes finishings have been released as single cask bottlings for various national markets worldwide, and in the last 2-3 years in particular, this variant has become the most popular and most bottled Kilchoman single cask release.

Most of the refill casks selected for this years edition were previously used for the 2018 sauternes finish release. As it turned out, the use of Sauternes casks as finishing casks for several months is the ideal preparation for subsequent full maturation. During the shorter finishing period, which usually lasts several months, much of the dominant Sauternes influence is extracted, leaving casks that still give the whisky maturing in them plenty of Sauternes character without sacrificing structure and balance.

During the major Kilchoman marketing tour through 20 European countries, which has just come to an end, visitors have already been able to taste the Sauternes cask edition (here even undiluted at 58% abv). The release is also included as a sample in the tasting pack for the online live tasting “Exploring New and Upcoming Releases” with Anthony & Peter Wills on 30 May 2024.

“After a six-year absence, the Sauternes Cask Matured Kilchoman is back! The previous edition was a Sauternes finish, now it’s time for a return to the full power that complete maturation in these wine casks brings. Waves of sweet fruits and butterscotch balanced with our Islay peat smoke, a delicious dram.”  Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder.

The new Sauternes Limited Edition will be available at retailers worldwide from next week. The alcohol content is 50% abv. Barley peated with 50 ppm from the Port Ellen Maltings was used.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Creamy, buttery notes with ripe fruits, hint of salty sea air and subtle peat smoke.

Palate: Butterscotch and floral notes combine with tropical and candied fruits with integrated peat smoke flowing throughout.

Finish: Sweetness continues onto the finish, balanced with clean lingering smoke and rich texture.