Back in late July of this year, we embarked on a New make spirit marathon, where we nosed and tasted 9 New make spirits from 8 different distilleries (these tasting notes can be found at Thewhiskeychaps.com), over 3 evenings.
We became quite fascinated by the flavour ranges of these 9 New make spirits, and how they vary with things like double or triple distillation, how the different Barley and Yeast strains change the flavours etc. So now we are going one stage further.
On the 27th of August this year @Kilchomanwhisky put on a web tasting of 4 new make spirit samples taken from the same spirit run. The samples were taken at 5, 25, 45 and 90 minutes, to show the characteristics of the new make spirit during the run.
We decided to buy these sample sets and attend the event, but neither of us could make it on the evening, there is a Youtube video of the event, presented by Anthony and Robin from Kilchoman, which can be found here https://youtu.be/sRRQJ2CjYgg
The Youtube video is well worth watching, there are questions throughout the video from whisky lovers like us, it’s very informative. But they didn’t really go into the aromas and flavours of the spirit samples, so we thought we would.
I had had a quick sniff of the samples prior to our tasting (couldn’t help myself tbh), so I knew they were different from each other, but just how much I couldn’t really tell. These are my tasting notes and thoughts from out tasting of them on the 8th of October 2020.
Kilchoman 5 Minute New Make Spirit Sample, 74% ABV.
Nose – WOW, that’s some serious ABV. Initially it’s all plums, foam bananas, and something like pumpkin/squash. Then we get sweetmeats, and maltiness, red berries, strawberries and raspberries slowly come forward, and rather surprisingly no smoke for me yet.
Palate – Now we have lemon slices, icing sugar, white pepper, there’s a little menthol freshness, it’s red berry Jammy now too and loverly and warming, there’s no spirit burn either. Super flavours.
Finish – It’s quite long tbh, with savoury notes, it’s malty, there’s lemon slices still, icing sugar and a little high cocoa dark chocolate bitterness right at the end.
Overall – It’s very early into the run and it’s already so fruity and sweet once you get used to the ABV, there’s a menthol freshness, which is surprising tbh, and over time it becomes malty and a tiny bit bitter late on the finish, it’s very nice.
Kilchoman 25 Minute New make Spirit Sample, 72% ABV.
Nose – Now I’m getting some peat smoke, it’s quite light, it’s not got to an ashy level yet. There’s now lots of raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, there’s more lemon slices now too, and not much sweetmeats, it’s a full on fruit monster now.
Palate – It’s become so much more Jammy, it feels thicker than the 5 minute sample, it’s more “juicy” now. There’s lots of lemon slices, with pineapple cubes, apricots, and mango, it’s very opal fruits (showing my age now ), all with a dusting of icing sugar, there’s also a gentle peat smoke now too.
Finish – It’s still more confectionery and sweeter, a real fruit bomb at this stage, with gentle smoke.
Overall – It’s an absolute fruit bomb at the 25 minute mark, it’s like a candy store with someone having a peat bonfire out the back, and some smoke is gently wafting into the shop, it’s quite long, and very nice.
Kilchoman 45 minutes New Make Spirit sample, 69% ABV.
Nose – By this time it’s becoming a little darker and heavier, there’s still raspberries, strawberries, white pepper, lemon slices and plum jam, and they are now joined by a bonfire, bbq meats, dunnage, tobacco leaves, black grapes, cherry throat sweets and a piercing icing sugar sweetness.
Palate – There are heavier and darker notes here too now, along with raspberries, strawberries, lemon slices, and plum jam, we have dark fruits, sultanas, figs, a light hint of cloves. There’s also bbq sauce, bacon, damp leaves, mulch, liquorice and star anise.
Finish – It’s still quite long, it’s loverly and warming with a plethora of fruits, smoke, and white pepper, I also got a brief taste of cardboard.
Overall – By 45 minutes it’s a mix of what seems to be the new make dna of red berries, lemon and plum jam, but there are loverly darker fruits, that really make it a more complex fruit cocktail experience, with peat smoke, it’s fuller here for me, and well rounded.
Kilchoman 90 minute New Make Spirit Sample, 65.5% ABV.
Nose – It’s changed again, it’s become perfumed now, but a kind of out of date perfume, that’s lost some of it’s aroma and freshness, it’s become a little stale in some ways, but that makes it more balanced in a strange way, nothing is really leaping out now. The fruits are certainly detectable, but they’re receding a little now, the maltiness is on par strength wise as the fruit, bringing more balance, and there’s still plenty of smoke, more than I’d expect to be honest.
Palate – It’s definitely more pastry like now, it’s become more Biscuity, cheesecake base, with some sweet pastries. The red berries and lemon are still there but dialled back, but there’s still plenty of smoke, and again a peep of cardboard.
Finish – It’s a medium length now, with gooseberries, white grapes, lighter white fruits, and maltiness, cereal, white pepper, a lingering meatiness, and icing sugar.
Overall – After tasting the earlier timed samples this one definitely feels a little stale fruit wise, there’s nothing leading the way now, nothing jumps out and grabs you fruit wise, it’s all very civil and balanced, then it becomes smothered by a still generous coating of peated smoke.
Kilchoman Combined New Make Samples, 70.1% ABV.
Nose – We’re back to the full on fruity and rounded fruit bomb, with a very gentle smokiness. Lots of strawberries, raspberries, plums, figs, and lemon oil.
Palate – Yes masses of red fruits, red berries, plums, icing sugar, Biscuity, Jammy dodgers all day, with a very gentle peat smoke.
Finish – Pretty much the same as the palate to be honest, it’s quite long, and the smoke lingers nicely right at the back.
Overall – I thought i might be able to taste flavours fro the timed samples in the combined new make, and I can, certain aspect show right through, the only part I have difficulty detecting are the darker fruit notes, this could be because of the cut times, or that their influence is very subtle and it’s the red fruits, lemon and plum flavours that just have by far the greatest portion.
Overall Tasting Thoughts.
Again this tasting has been incredibly informative and good fun, this deconstruction type tasting is just fascinating.
Lastly I’d just like to say thanks to anyone who followed along with this tasting, it was quite a long one. Thanks to Kilchoman for putting on the original tasting, and thanks to @whiskeychap for being my whisk(e)y tasting partner in our Whiskey Chaps venture, we sometimes have different tasting notes, which is really interesting, and it’s always good fun, as it should be.