A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The cask strength 50% alcohol by volume whisky has been made from barley grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at the tiny distillery.
Kilchomen, which produces only 100,000 litres of alcohol a year, was founded in 2005 by a group of private investors. It claims to be the first distillery to be built on the iconic Scottish western island of Islay for 120 years.
Pale golden in colour, it is described as: “an initial sweetness, followed by soft peat smoke and mixed fruits”.
At the official launch yesterday (June 16), Charles MacLean, doyen of the whisky writers and tasters, described Kilchoman as “like Chardonnay (in colour), maritime. Light, oily with a trace of sweetness, spritzy with a saltiness.”
He concluded: “Remarkably mellow at 50%.”
It was aged in four especially selected bourbon barrels and aged for three years.