There are of course many drams I do await with anticipation. As you know, I am keen towards new smokes and peatfires and not too keen about too sherryfied experiences. I was really suspicious about the first Kilchoman Sherry Cask that I did skip that totally for a while. It was so dark, looked so sherry filled that it cannot be any good. That is, until I eventually tasted it in a bar. I was blown away how good it was – and of course by that time it was way too expensive to get a bottle. That’s when the first Loch Gorm (renamed Sherry cask) came to rescue. The sharp blade and wits got me away from the deadly darkness of ignorance and got my hands onto Loch Gorm 2013 as soon as possible.
Now that the 2014 version of Loch Gorm has landed, it is a good moment to see how it does and compare it to the previous years version a bit. According to Kilchoman’s site information, the Loch Gorm is the only all sherry cask-matured Kilchoman. First it has been distilled in 2009, then put to Oloroso sherry butts for over five years and then bottled 2014. The 2013 version was finished in Oloroso sherry hogsheads for six weeks – but I don’t know if this the case this year.
The nose does have smoke. It also has toffee-kind of experience. Some spice and perhaps a bit of peat too. I do like it, it is soft and promises a lots of taste.
Palate starts with peat and fruits. It continues with spicy experience and adds more smoke afterwards. This is a very soft dram, with some bite in there. Fruity, but not too much. Sweet, but not too much. There is enough Kilchoman fire and peat in it to make it a very pleasant dram. And the finish goes on for a nice amount of time, leaving enjoyable sensations tingling inside a mouth.
So how does this do? Loch Gorm 2014 (46% btw) is a nice dram. It does not blow me away, it does not inspire too much stories (sorry about that, I’ll get back to those!) but in fact it is a nice whisky that will find it’s place either in tastings, or as a dram enjoyed in a terrace at sundown. It has enough taste to make it work as it is, but it does not create worlds. Easy to play with but you need to be careful in tastings so that it does not suffer from a bad position. Actually, if your tasting series has real strong tastes and experiences, this might just be the one to get it started.
Compared to 2013 version, this one is more smooth, has more depth and less character. This is a Mr Upper Manager jr who just got his position and works his way inside a company so that he makes no mistakes, nor raises his voice. There are no spotlights where this one gets to shine, instead the show runs and works because of him. 2013 version had more bite, more smoke and peatfire and thus it had much more dings in it. But while it made a impression, the taste wasn’t as long in the finish as this one. The dram was more single-minded, but this one is more open to option. The downside is, that the compromise will be a pleasant dram for most of people, but I would love to get this one in cask strength for extra facet. Keep on experimenting, Kilchoman! I hear that there will be a Port finish Kilchoman and a Cask Strength versions coming out late summer/early autumn!
Here is a less edited photo and also the 2013 Loch Gorm. Since there isn’t much difference in color or labeling I think I can reuse the last year’s excellent alien world photo again and again!