Yesterday we’ve come to the end of our “Advent Calendar”, a nice idea by the guys from Blend whisky bar, in Castelfranco Veneto. Today it’s time for a big Christmas present. The last four samples were supposed to be tasted simultaneously, just before our Christmas meal. And so we did. Thank you again to the perfect Blend war machine, a neverending source of surprises, friendship and tricks. Merry Christmas!
❤1 Kilchoman ‘Comraich’ (2007/2017, OB, 55,5%)
Very good and super-intense. The fishy seaworthiness increases with an aggressive, smoky peatiness. We’re on Islay. Actually, we’re on a fishing boat at Port Ellen or Port Askaig. Rubber, ether and tarp, too. Smoggy diesel. We’d say it’s a cask strength, but the high ABV doesn’t affect a nice aromatic impact. Caramel, cola and tamarind are the sweet, sugary notes. It’s likely rather young, with fresh, green hints, almost balsamic (chlorophyl and eucalypt). On the palate it explodes in a big bang of flavors: the peat is even more powerful, embers and burning wood (have you ever tasted it?). Later, there’s a sweet, wrapping carpet of cane sugar, caramel and tamarind again. The finish is fishy, kippers in a Campbeltown pub.
If we were to assume a bottling, we’d say An Islay Distillery 9 yo, from Cadenhead’s Small Batch series (3 Lagavulin casks, two sherry and one bourbon). But no. It’s from Islay, but it’s a Kilchoman Comraich, exclusive bottling for Kilchoman “sanctuaries”: 87/100..
❤2 Vat 69 (2018, OB, 40%)
After these bellyful days, it’s hard to define it. Very young, it smells like a distillery, with yeasts and pot-stills. The sweet nose makes us wonder if this whisky was finished in some particular cask. A bit of ink, too. On the palate, the body is weak: industrial licorice and ink. And it suddenly disappears. The finish is outrageously short. It tastes like vodka. No more than clean spirit.
It can’t even be tacky, with its discount sweetness. Honestly, 72/100.
❤3 Ardbeg Blasda (2010, OB, 40%)
White peaches and an oily sensation (lineseed oil, or is it sesameseed oil?). Quite delicate and fruity, a layer of icing sugar lies on this whisky. Granny smith apples, too? It’s fresh, slightly peaty, elegant. White grapes. On the palate is still very vegetal, with “green” peated cereal. The finish is not so long, but the peat smoke is now getting its revenge on the cereal. Rather naked, the cask influence is faint.
Might it be a Bruichladdich Islay Barley? No, it might not. But it’s not so surprising to discover that it’s maybe the most controversial Ardbeg ever released: 83/100.
❤4 Kilchoman 100% Islay (2012/2018, OB for Beija Flor , 59,1%)
Young peated whisky, with a maritime minerality (rocks on the coast, Zucchetti says). A lemony acidity. It’s sugary, between icing sugar and comfit. Rather shy, maybe a bit alcoholic, definetely honest. The palate is impressive and intense, lemon and ginger. A powerful body and an elegant profile, The ABV tastes high. Lemon curd, smoke and embers again. The finish is really long and deep, with a nice saltiness.
Lagavulin 12 was a close call. It’s really a nice whisky. The palate in particular is surprising for richness, after a shy nose. 89/100!