Kilchomania has tasted: Loch Gorm 2023

The annual Kilchoman Oloroso sherry cask bottling Loch Gorm is certainly one of the most popular Kilchoman bottlings. The 2023 edition represents a certain caesura in the development of the series and so we were very excited to try it.

The composition of the Loch Gorm batches varied from year to year in terms of the age of the casks used and the ratio of 1st fill and refill sherry casks. From 2012 to the 2019 edition, however, there was a clear trend towards increasingly older sherry casks. From 2020, the age of the youngest casks included was then frozen at around 9 years, and with one exception in 2021, casks from the early years of the distillery aged up to 14 years were also always included.

With this year’s release, Kilchoman is deviating from this trend for the first time and presenting us with a slightly younger sherry cask whisky. The 22 Oloroso sherry butts included in the vatting are from 2013, 2014 and 2015, so the youngest whisky is “only” 7 years old.

Here are our tasting notes:

Intense campfire smoke with bacon, wild berries, cherries, a splash of lemon, a light sulphur note, sweet BBQ sauce, tobacco leaves, peppery oak. Simply a great blend of smoke and sherry flavours. 86 points

Creamy, delicious sherry, bacony, smoky, plums, dates, subtle sulphur and then spicy oak towards the back. But the Kilchoman distillery character also comes to the fore: some pineapple, citrus and a nice smoky malt note. Complex and drinkable at the same time. 87 points

Bacony smoke, sweet sherry, lots of pepper and spice from the oak, light coffee bitterness and cocoa powder. Medium length and very drinkable. 85 points

The 2023 Loch Gorm release is – as was to be expected – much more subtle in its sherry tones than the previous bottlings of the last five years. However, Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal have succeeded in composing a whisky that clearly reveals the typical Kilchoman distillery character and at the same time represents a very complex blend of Islay peat smoke and sherry notes. Very drinkable and just right for a barbecue with friends. 86 points