What’s interesting over the years of whisky tasting, is the techniques and methods recommended to you.
Joe Hughes, who previously worked for Morrison Bowmore, would have me furiously rubbing whisky between my hands and inhaling the evaporating spirit to give my nose and palate the ‘essence’ of the spirit I was about to try, whereas Richard ‘The Nose’ Paterson will have you introducing yourself to a whisky as you would a beautiful woman: an initial introductory hello, a repeat, and then further conversations (!).
Everyone seems to have a slight variance on what and how. Warming the glass in your hand, covering the top, nose in (but not too far), admiring colour, observing legs – all of this before actually tasting it.
To be completely honest, Kilchoman isn’t at the top of my list of favorite whiskies. There’s just too much other stuff on Islay alone which gets my interest.
Id never been over enamored with the distillery on my visit several years ago. Although set on the rugged west coast of Islay overlooking Loch Gorm and a stone’s throw from Machir Bay, it just isn’t steeped with history, whitewashed walls and block lettering on the side like I was used to seeing on the island.
However, I approached this tasting evening with an open mind.
Hosted by George Wills, one of three sons of former independent whisky bottler and founder Anthony – all who play a role in Kilchoman.
For those of you not in the know, the distillery started out in 2005 using some old farm buildings (to blend into the Islay countryside) and was the first new distillery to be built on the island for 125 years. Generally speaking, their whiskies are from casks between five and six years old. They do have older casks, but obviously need to preserve their stocks for the future.
Many years ago, I took my first visit to Islay. As more of a bourbon and beer sort of person, I was gradually (ok, quickly) converted to the wonders of whisky. These strange names, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin, Ardbeg and more, were soon to become so familiar and take their places on my shelves at home.
Then, on a later visit, we encountered something new. A new distillery, the first ‘new’ distillery on the island in 125 years (I think). Then came one in Norfolk. Then the lakes. And, before too long, Islay will add another.