The Whisky Tasting Club

Day 6: Kilchoman and Jura open days

I planned this day as our day for slobbing around doing little (and perhaps drinking less whisky). Weather this morning was pretty foul, so seemed sensible to stay in our lovely cottage, throw a few logs on the fire and just relax.

Today is Kilchoman’s open day and also Jura’s. Jura are obviously trying really hard to get people over and had a really good schedule of events: tasting boutique barrels with willie tait; a tasting of jura prophesy with willie cochrane and participating in selecting the next jura boutique barrel.  For £15 you get all that, lunch, ferry ride over, entertainment and a distillery gift. We spent a day on jura last time we were here two years ago, its very beautiful and completely empty (population 200), but we didnt fancy traipsing over this time.

Kilchoman on the other hand is 5 miles up the road, so thought we would go up. They had warehouse tastings with James Swan, Nibbles and Tipples with Martine Nouet (both of which had sold out before I got round to trying to book), a folk band and a barbeque. Their festival offering was 258 bottles of cask strength 3 year old. For those who have not been, Kilchoman is essentially a farm with a small still out the back. We got there at about 9:45, parked in a field and walked through the rain to the farm. There was a huge queue and as we got there they had a power cut. Wet and grumpy, we decided to abandon the festival bottling rather than queue for two hours without the certainty of getting a bottle. These guys should really have two queues, one for cards and one for a cash only (for people with the right money), it would move so much faster. Give everyone a ticket then tell them to join one queue or the other. I don’t want to spend half my holiday queuing.  Bowmore tried tickets for their bottling but left all the bottles in the shop on a table. People (like me) were walking in, picking up the bottles then queuing to pay, only to be told after queueing they were already sold. Anyway, if you want to read a review of the Kilchoman special bottling, the whisky fun review is very good.

So we gave up and came home to watch the rain. I popped into Bowmore and visited the best Spar shop in the world, the islay whisky shop. They had three bottles of Renaissance, our favorite Ardbeg, so I grabbed the lot. I then went to the Bowmore distillery and bought two of their tempest special bottling. Weather brightened up in the afternoon, we went back up to Kilchoman and I bought a bottle of the spring 2010 release.

I have to stop, I’ve now bought over 20 bottles of whisky and spent a small fortune (you can probably guess how much, whisky here isnt cheap). I’ve decided to not bother trying to get the Ardbeg festival bottling. Its a painful decision, but I need to draw the line somewhere. However, just found out from cask strength that Laga are doing a distillery only bottling:

oh dear, may have to leave the dog here to fit the whisky in the car.

I’m enjoying the tempest, well balanced. Fruitcake on the nose, its cask strength and has a clean light alcohol hit with a slight peaty note. Good length. The whisky is turning my attention back to bowmore, havent bought a bottle since the our last trip two years ago and that was rank, one of the older expressions, many of which I didnt like (surf and turf or something like that).

Kilchoman is peaty, oily, and young, very young. It tastes like Bruichladdich Peat, although it has a dirty note somewhat reminiscent of old ardbeg (which I’m not a huge fan of tbh, I own about 15 bottles of ardbeg, 9 open, but I have to admit I’m not that keen on Uigeadail). I’ll try it again in a couple of years. £45 for a three year old is excessive. I could get two bottles of Laphroaig 10 for that, a laga 12 or almost a rollercoaster.

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