As the name suggests, 100% Islay by Kilchoman is a bonafide Islay malt. All of its ingredients come from the fabled whisky island off the western shore of Scotland. And all stages of the production were carried out right there on Islay, too. “From barley to bottle” – as the distillery team proudly proclaims. To let every component shine as brightly as possible, 100% Islay comes with a reduced peatiness. Whereas Kilchoman’s core range expressions usually clock in at a massive 50 PPM, this one “only” has 20 PPM. But dontcha worry, smokeheads: 100% Islay still packs enough peat to fully satisfy your cravings. In The 10th Edition, which I am introducing here, the fumes and plumes form a wonderful union with the other notes, which are predominantly fruity, grainy, creamy and sweet. I think, the beautiful balance is the result of various factors, such as the patient maturation (the 41 casks used in the recipe were all filled between 2007 and 2010) and the excellent wood management (Kilchoman has a reputation for using only the best butts and barrels). If you are looking for a multi-layered, well-rounded Islay malt of astonishing quality and appeal, look no further than this. The new 100% Islay offers everything I would expect from a world-class whisky … and then some!
Eye: An ashy kind of yellow.
Nose: Fruity and peaty, brisk and dusty, leveled and headstrong. When I take a deep sniff, the first thing that comes to my mind is a basket full of yellow and orange fruits in a working sawmill. Suddenly, a fire breaks loose and covers everything in a fine cloud of wood smoke. The heat brings forth another quality: a mouth-watering sweetness. It takes the form of caramel sauce on a vanilla sundae. To round things, a variety of grassy and grainy notes make themself known as well.
Palate: The sweetness of exotic fruits goes first (khaki, kiwi, tangerine, banana). Then appear ashy smoke, green wood and wet stones. Furthermore, I get cookie crumbles, white chocolate and vanilla pudding with apple compote. The afore-mentioned smoke is more on the thin side. Nevertheless, it is very present and all-enshrouding. While the flavors in The 10th Edition of 100% Islay are strong in number and diverse in character, they harmonize beautifully. This masterful creation shows: Islay’s farm distillery has come of age – and wonderfully so!
Finish: Long like a stroll along the Machir Bay shore on the evening. The most striking notes in the delicate finish are those of marzipan cookies, toffee apples, milk chocolate, juicy grapes, sweet clover, sugared tea and crunchy malt. Just like before, the smoke takes a thin and fleeting form here. Again, everything is perfectly weighted out with each other.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: NAS (9 years old)
Alc. volume: 50 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~80.00 Euro
Limitation: 12,400 bottles
More info: http://www.kilchomandistillery.com (Distillery)