Kilchoman Club Release 9th Edition (2020)

Cask Nos.: 548-551/2012

Cask type: Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads

Distillation Date: 23.8.2012

Bottling Date: 16.11.2020

Age: 8 yo

Strength: 56,2 % abv

Phenol level: n.a.

Number of bottles: 1.311

Bottle volume: 0,7 l

Bottle code: CR Y67IOH68 20/154

Distribution: Kilchoman Club Members only via Kilchoman website

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Kilchoman founder Anthony Wills is always keen to bottle something special for the annual club release. In 2020 he selected four Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads with unpeated Kilchoman whisky.

Distilled in August 2012 from the farm’s own barley (100% Islay) of the Publican variety, the whisky was stored for 8 years in four fresh Oloroso Hogsheads and was bottled in November 2020. The yield was 1.311 bottles with an alcohol content of 56.2%. Limited to one bottle per person, the bottles could be purchased on 18 November 2020 from 2pm UK time on the Kilchoman homepage for £99.60 + shipping.

Kilchoman has only used unpeated malt from the farm’s own barley sporadically over the years, producing a slightly larger batch (75 casks) in late summer 2012 when the kiln needed to peat the malt malfunctioned. Bottlings with “unpeated” Kilchoman whisky are therefore very rare, the first two were released in early 2020 (we reported) and to date only a handful have been released from both Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads and Bourbon Barrels.

Kilchoman usually writes “unpeated” in inverted commas or uses the term “slightly peated” because despite the use of unpeated malt, the whisky still has very slight peat smoke notes. It is well known that during distillation, the foreshots and feints separated from the middle run are collected in the “low wines and feints receiver” and distilled again during the next distillation cycles. As this receiver is not emptied in between the alternating distilling cycles with peated malt, the distillate still shows slight peat smoke notes.
It is only through the new and separately operated second pair of stills, which were put into operation in 2019, that Kilchoman now has the possibility to produce genuine unpeated whisky in the future, but also to experiment with higher peating levels, etc.

“We only filled a handful of casks with unpeated 100% Islay spirit over the past 15 years and it was always going to be fascinating how they developed differently from the usually peated malt. Although faint notes of peated spirit from the previous sprit runs can be found in the whisky, it is overridden on the palate with strong spice, bold fruits and coastal flavours”  Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Master Distillery.