Distilled from their 2007 and 2009 barley crops, the 9th edition is a vatting of 43 ex-bourbon barrels matured for over 9 years in their on-site dunnage warehouses. Released annually since 2011, their 100% Islay range is distilled from barley grown in the fields surrounding the distillery. The 9th Edition marks a return to the bourbon barrel maturation of previous 100% Islay releases. Last year’s 8th edition contained roughly 50% sherry maturation however Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder/ Master Distiller, decided to return to his trusted American oak casks for this year’s release.
Their 100% Islay spirit pairs seamlessly with ex-bourbon barrels. The lower peating level (20ppm) allows the natural floral sweetness of the spirit to shine through whilst a higher age profile adds layers of overripe tropical fruit and stewed plums whilst the high ABV makes it no lightweight.
As with all 100% Islay releases, weighs in at 20ppm compared to Kilchoman’s usual 50ppm, allowing the tropical notes from the bourbon barrel can really shine through in this one. The oldest whisky in the 100% Islay range to date, the ninth edition uses a lower peating level than the bottlings found in Kilchoman’s core range. The lower peating level allows the natural floral sweetness of the spirit to shine through, whilst a higher age profile adds layers of overripe tropical fruit and stewed plums.
Color: battered gold.
Citrus sweetness, apricots and juniper and wild herbs. A sweet, nicely rounded peat. With almonds, honey and vanilla, but also a creaminess and a dry sandy beach. Cracked wheat and plenty of cereals, salted caramel, smoked hickory chips and battered apples. A very little water addition unlocks more fruit notes alongside a richer honey, sap and a haunting smoke.
Boatloads of tropical fruit, with overripe banana with layers of lemon tart, vanilla, briny peat, smoke and dark maple syrup. The peat comes through strongly now, more than the nose suggested. It lingers right through into the finish. Wet wool, chocolate, chilli flakes and toasted pine nuts. Maybe some maple syrup as well, with charcoal and pine needles.
Adding water isn’t as beneficial; more oils yes, peanuts and crackers, but it becomes a little too subdued and youthful.
Long, clean, oily and intense as flavors fight for supremacy. Oily malt on a clean finish with sweet fruit and smoke intertwined.
Balance, Body & Feel
This 9th Islay is an excellent harmony between the cask and spirit, which is very well made. More peat than in the nose. But its’s creamy too. Chocolate and caramel. Somewhat salty. Honey again and cereals in the background. Then lemons and green apples, which gives it a little bit of freshness. Quite nice. Some menthol and spices in the very background.