In the enchanting realm of Kilchoman Distillery, the air is filled with anticipation as the 2023 Club Release approaches. Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal, the masterminds behind Kilchoman's exceptional whiskies, have meticulously chosen casks 1110 and 1101 from the 2016 vintage to craft a unique pre-Christmas delight for the discerning members of the Kilchoman Club.
Cask Maturation and Finishing:
The journey of this extraordinary whisky begins with its initial maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, imparting a foundation of caramel and vanilla influences. However, the true magic unfolds during the finishing process, as the spirit spends a lavish 14 months in rarely used Blanc de Blancs wine casks. This experimental touch is a rarity in the world of Kilchoman, adding layers of complexity and nuance to the final product.
Blanc de Blancs Influence:
Blanc de Blancs, a term synonymous with sparkling wines from the illustrious winemaking region of France, takes center stage in this release. Produced exclusively from white grapes, notably Chardonnay, these wines are renowned for their minerality and freshness. The marriage of Blanc de Blancs and Kilchoman's distinct character creates a symphony of flavors, intertwining citrus sweetness and maritime peat smoke.
Anthony Wills, the visionary founder of Kilchoman, describes the impact of Blanc de Blancs casks on the whisky. Layers of lemon tart, tropical fruit, and aromatic honeysuckle interweave with the existing bourbon barrel influences, harmonizing seamlessly with the natural salty sweetness and peat smoke of Kilchoman's spirit. Wills expresses a touch of regret that more casks were not filled with Blanc de Blancs, underscoring the exceptional nature of this limited edition.
The 2023 Club Release, bottled at a robust 54.1% alcohol by volume, showcases the distinct influence of casks 1110 and 1101 from the 2016 vintage. The bottling date, November 30, 2023, marks the culmination of a carefully monitored maturation and finishing process, resulting in only 522 bottles of this exquisite whisky.
Exclusive Access for Club Members:
As a testament to the exclusivity of this release, Kilchoman extends the privilege of acquisition solely to its esteemed Club Members. Set to become available on December 6th at 12 noon (Islay time), each bottle is priced at £70.75 excluding VAT (£84.90 inc. UK VAT). Due to the limited quantity, each Club Member is restricted to a single bottle, ensuring that this remarkable creation finds its way into the hands of those who truly appreciate the artistry behind Kilchoman whiskies.
The 2023 Club Release from Kilchoman Distillery stands as a testament to the brand's commitment to innovation and quality. With Blanc de Blancs as a captivating muse, Anthony Wills and Robin Bignal have orchestrated a symphony of flavors that transcends traditional boundaries. For Kilchoman Club Members, this exclusive release is an invitation to savor the rarity and sophistication encapsulated within each bottle—a pre-Christmas indulgence to be cherished and remembered.
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About Kilchoman Distillery
Kilchoman Distillery is a relatively young but highly regarded Islay whisky distillery, situated on the western side of the Isle of Islay in Scotland. Established in 2005, Kilchoman is known for its commitment to traditional whisky production methods, including on-site malting, as well as its dedication to crafting peated single malt whiskies.
Key features of Kilchoman Distillery include its status as one of the few distilleries in Scotland that conducts traditional floor malting on-site. This means that a portion of the barley used in production is malted at the distillery itself, allowing for greater control over the entire whisky-making process. The use of peat in malting contributes to the distinct smoky and peaty flavor profile that is characteristic of Islay whiskies.
Kilchoman produces a variety of expressions, each showcasing the unique characteristics of the distillery's spirit. These expressions include core releases like Kilchoman Machir Bay and Kilchoman Sanaig, as well as limited-edition releases that often highlight specific cask types, maturation periods, or special collaborations. The distillery's commitment to transparency is reflected in its practice of providing detailed information about each bottling, including the cask types and maturation details.
The whiskies from Kilchoman are known for their bold and robust flavors, combining peaty and smoky notes with elements of fruit, sweetness, and maritime influences. The use of a variety of cask types, including bourbon barrels, sherry butts, and wine casks, adds complexity to the final products.
Visitors to Kilchoman Distillery have the opportunity to take guided tours to learn about the whisky-making process, from malting to bottling, and to explore the picturesque surroundings of the distillery. Kilchoman has gained a dedicated following among whisky enthusiasts, and its commitment to traditional methods and innovative expressions has contributed to its reputation as a standout Islay distillery.