Kilchoman 9 Year Old 100% Islay Barley K&L Exclusive Cask #549 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) SKU #1375494

Price: $149.99

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Tasting Notes

When Kilchoman opened in 2005, it was the first new distillery on Islay in 124 years. Their founder, Anthony Wills, had a special approach in mind for a new kind of distillery. He wanted to create something with purpose and intention. His dream was to engage with the entire process of whisky making. He bought a farm and opened a distillery, making whisky in the same way it was always made: grow your own barley, malt it yourself, make your own whisky, age and bottle it on site, and deliver a product that shows an incredible sense of place, quality, and the heart and soul of the people who made it. Kilchoman is a true farm distillery in every sense. We were fortunate enough to peruse the dunnage warehouses with Anthony himself this past May and after tasting many casks, we settled on this beauty. For one, it's just simply an outstanding whisky. But just as importantly, it tells the story of Kilchoman from start to finish in a way that many others didn't. Laid down in 2008, just a few short years after opening, this dram was bottled just shy of its 10th birthday, making it one of the oldest Islay barley bottles out there. It encompasses everything that makes Kilchoman unique. From the salt breeze, fresh-cut grass notes of newly harvested barley grown within eyesight of the stills, to the sweet smell of wood from the exclusive Buffalo Trace barrel, to the lighter peat treatment in their own malting barn and kiln, this whisky is a pure expression of people and place.

Staff Reviews

  • Andrew Tobin
    By: Andrew Tobin
    K&L Staff Member
    Hand selected by our very own buyer here at K&L, this is a special experience. The nose is bold, with a sweet, salty, and somewhat briny nature that invites you in for a second draw; upon which the fruit jumps out of the glass with notes of apricot, that play off the sea notes for a balanced bouquet. The palate is incredibly balanced, with a smokey, sweet, and perfectly peated finish that lingers in the most pleasant way. Not only is this a unique example of Islay Scotch, but it is one that you will remember. Any serious Scotch drinker will revel in its complexity and balance, while anyone looking to try a nice bottle for the first time will not be disappointed!
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    I've been visiting and tasting the outrageously good malts from the Kilchoman Distillery since just a few years after they opened. Always when faced with the wonderful, delicious, approachable young malt that lay in barrel there, the big question was how will this do as it ages. An old adage in Scotch, expressed to me by more than one master distiller, was that if your new make and young whiskies were too pretty they wouldn't hold up for the long run. Kilchoman's new make was downright delicious and their young whiskies were already absolutely world-class at 4-5 years of age. These pretty distillates have continued to develop as they age and certainly show no signs of losing the inherent delicacy. The exception to that was the spectacular Islay Barley, which is hand-malted on site. This special spirit was always more rugged and austere. In its youth it reminded us more of mezcal than of the other Islay malts and while it was equally drinkable, it never exhibited the finesse and elegance of the standard distillate. But the distillery was never able to put anything from the Islay barley program on the table much more than 5 years old. Now with this incredible game-changing whisky we're beginning to see what truly mature hand-malted Kilchoman is going to look like and it's freakin' fabulous. This is a world-class whisky that may not have the pointed elegance of the standard releases, but more than makes up for it in wild complexity and rich texture. While it was sort of hard to peg the young Islay Barleys into a category, this 9 year old cask has arrived and is so distinctly of Islay it's astounding. Now, it's not a peat bomb by any means; the smoke is very integrated, it has the ocean quality that reminds me of the very best modern Bowmore and the singular character of one of the Springbank local barley. Touches of green olive poke through behind mountains of overripe yellow plums, citrus peel and freshly spun cotton candy. The gorgeous nose contrasts wonderfully with the salty peat that cuts right through the front palate. This beautiful tension between wonderful orchard fruits and salted savory things continues through all the way to the end where a big candied and smoke lemon peel remains. Not nearly as limey or mezcal-like as younger versions and easily one of my new favorite Kilchoman to date. Good work Whiteley!
  • Jeffrey Jones
    By: Jeffrey Jones
    K&L Staff Member
    Kilchoman selects the best heart of what they distill, taking a very clean cut of the fresh distilled whiskey. This cask reflects this with its beauty and purity. The nose is pretty and seductive, a mix of smoke and sweetness with a hint of sea. In the mouth with no water it is round and balanced, much more subtle that one would expect. With a splash of water this cask opens up, showing layers of complexity with a nice sweet roundness, smoke, sea flavors and spice. There is a long finish.
  • Cameron Price
    By: Cameron Price
    K&L Staff Member
    I know it's only August but now is the time to start thinking about your Christmas whisky! And I hope you stock-up on this one! Our exclusive 9 year Kilchoman is in my opinion going to be our Christmas smasher. This whisky is 100% Islay Barley which comes from the farm on-site at the distillery and is barreled exclusively for K&L in ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels for 9 years! Islay is known for producing some dominating peated whiskies however with this one the balance is so incredible you almost have to search for it. First hit on the nose is almost like a cinnamon spiced cake with a bit of smoke coming in the room from the kitchen from which it was baked but the room is far away so it's not overpowering. There's even a light flintiness to the nose with a moist waft a fresh hay. The palate, my word, that palate! A spicy, rich attack of sweet spices and salinity that are sure to carry you through the holiday. There is a lovely mouth-coating viscosity that takes that attack and calms it down letting you macerate your taste buds for whatever length of time you desire. When I put this whisky to my lips, I pictured myself around the fire with a good book or off the coast Scotland in a Viking ship fighting off invaders. Elegance and power are represented here and this little guy is sure to please the entire spectrum of the Scotch drinking crowd. Remember, only at K&L!
    Drink from 2018 to 2100
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    K&L Staff Member
    This cask is a real stoater. A thing of exceptional beauty and grace. The 100% Islay barley sings it sweet song loud and clear. While the Machir Bay typically hovers around 50ppm in phenols, the Islay barley malt is lighter in peat smoke, roughly 15-20ppm. The result is a nuanced whiskey that cries out with freshness. In addition to the fruitiness, there are really complex floral and vegetal tones. Like a field of clover blossoms. It's citrusy, with notes of cut grass, a touch of sea salt, tropical fruit, and a delicate smoke like a campfire wafting across the bay on a foggy night. The palate is superbly balanced. The Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel leaves a signature cinnamon and butterscotch profile while the barley, grown just a few hundred yards from it's malting barn and stills, really dials up the sweet fresh fruit. The finish is clean and long, lingering with more citrus, creme brulee, and easy smoke.
  • Miles Philippe
    By: Miles Philippe
    K&L Staff Member
    Two words that unlocked this for me: Elegantly composed. The nose on this is simply astounding! It’s got all kinds of spices; it’s slightly herbal, toeing the line of medicinal, and overall just damned pretty. And the peat…it’s used beautifully here. Like how a chef would use salt to unleash the medley of flavors of a dish, so too did the master at Kilchoman utilize peat with this bottling. Just add a drop of water to open this darling up, then savor the orchestral performance!


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