Whiskey Review: Kilchoman Loch Gorm

| November 20, 2015

Kilchoman Loch GormThe youngest Islay distillery (the first to be built on the island for 125 years), Kilchoman is not afraid to try new things. While it waits for age statements to catch up with ambition, Kilchoman has set aside spirit to rest in a project called Loch Gorm (named for the very peaty loch bordering the property). This is the first whisky Kilchoman has aged from start to finish in ex-Olorosso sherry casks.

The first release was aged 5 years and offered to the public in 2013, with re-releases every year since.  As it ages, the spirit continues to develop character, and coming years should see interesting developments in terms of depth and complexity. The distillation notes and bottling years are on the label to differentiate between releases – this sounds a little like the beginnings of a collection, or at the very least an epic tasting session 10 years from now.

Non-chill filtered and natural in color, the latest release of Loch Gorm is limited to 10,000 bottles worldwide.  My particular bottle was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2014.


Appearance:  Although the label states the color as reddish gold, my particular spirit is pale straw.  Slippery in the glass, with quick legs, it coats evenly with tiny droplets.

Nose: A true and peaty Islay, heather and smoke are in the fore with ginger and layers of tamarind and lemon peel.

Palate: Silky on the palate, with medium smoke, before mineral and brine come forward, giving way to star anise and preserved lemons.

Finish: The finish is not too long, with baked green apple, marmalade and lingering smoke.

With Islay whiskies, it is a tricky business adding sweetness and fruit to what has traditionally been a seaside explosion of savory flavors. In the case of Kilchoman, less is definitely more. Five years in Sherry casks imparts pleasant citrus notes that underscore, rather than detract from, the main attraction – like squeezing lemon on a plateau de fruits de mer. In this respect, Kilchoman’s Loch Gorm is a breath of fresh Islay air.

I score the Kilchoman Loch Gorman 87 points.

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Tish Lester

Tish Lester is a former restauranteur whose love of good flavors led her to the world of whiskey, where she is an avid participant, having attended nosings, tastings and master classes throughout Europe and the United States. She has recently discovered the truth that for every moment in our lives,...