Kilchoman Feis Ile 2015 Release

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Distillery/Brand: | Kilchoman | Region: Islay | ABV: 58.2% | Colour: Pale Straw
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92

Kilchoman was pretty much on top of my must-visit-distillery list the moment I stepped off the plane on Islay. And luckily for me it was literally a 5 minutes drive from where I was staying.
Which meant I was able to visit it twice during my week long stay for the Islay Festival.

The first visit I managed a small tasting (Loch Gorm 2015, Original Cask Strength and a Single Cask PX) followed by an insanely delicious chocolate brownie soaked in Machir Bay. We actually ordered two more after devouring the first.

My next visit was for a quick distillery tour. Cute. Interesting. I enjoyed my self.

Kilchoman released two whiskies this year. One was the 10th Anniversary bottling and the other the 2015 Feis Ile expression. This is their oldest whisky yet – seven years to the day – and comprises of a vatting of three fresh bourbon barrels.

My sample is from an open bottle and served at 58.2%

Nose: That all too familiar Kilchoman grist. A fine balance between peaty smoke and sweetness. Vanilla. Melons. It’s quite potent when you first get in there. But mellows out to a nice green apple sweet tartness. Hint of sea salt. Milk chocolate. Oak. This is such a typically good Kilchoman nose. Just good old fashioned whisky making.

Palate: Ooooh! Spicy! Lots of it. But let it simmer on your palate and the other flavors come out to play. Milk chocolate. Toasted barley. So much toasted barley. The green apples are back. Hint of mint. Oak. Coffee beans. A very creamy whisky if there was one. Quite a nice layer of flavors to play with.

Finish: Long. Oily. The spicy oak is back. So is the hint of mint.

Overall Comments: Quite liked this release. I, unfortunately did not like the 10th Anniversary one, though. But this one is just peachy. Well done Kilchoman.

Rating: 92

Ardbeg Perpetuum

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Distillery/Brand: Ardbeg | Region: Islay | ABV: 47.4% | Colour: Young Sauternes
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

This year I fulfilled a dream I’ve had for a long time now. Visiting the tiny island of Islay during the Islay Whisky Festival to visit the distilleries that have had me captivated for so long.
And, of course, there was one open day that I was looking forward to the most. Yes, you guessed it – Ardbeg. I know they’ve been disappointing so many of us for so long now but there’s still something that draws us all back.

So we all got up bright and early and on May 30th entered the distillery grounds to much fanfare. A live band, smoked Oogies and Corrys, seafood stalls, an ice bar and of course the Ardbeg Perpetuum – this years’ Ardbeg Day Release.

I didn’t maintain any high hopes, mind you, given Ardbegs’ recent lukewarm releases. Which I think is probably the best way to approach anything in life. Less chances of being disappointed.

The final whisky contains a mix of different ages and casks (both bourbon and sherry), including a small amount of the oldest Ardbeg malt currently available. How small I wonder?

My sample is from an open bottle served at a funny 47.4%

Nose: It’s not bad. Nice peat smoke. Almost a char to it. A lot more vanilla than you normally find in Ardbegs. Smells quite creamy. Like custard. There’s a hint of iodine. More medicinal eucalyptus if you like. Touch of fruits. It’s not spectacular mind you. But I quite enjoyed nosing it.

Palate: Creamy mouthfeel. Lots of soot. Ash. Smoke. The vanilla is back. So are the fruits. Hint of oak. Spices. White pepper. Strong Earl Gray tea. Salty too. The first dram didn’t do it for me, though. Had to have a second to come around to quite liking it.

Finish: Quite long. Salty. With a touch of oak.

Overall Comments: This is quite a decent whisky. I like quite a bit. I don’t know if it was because I was on Islay since everything tastes amazing on that island. I’ll try it again in a few months and decide. Till then I am happy to give this my nod of approval.

Rating: 89