Day 24 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Kilchoman Alberta Single Cask Madeira Finish

by Evan

We have made it to the penultimate door of the 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar! Looking back at the recent few years’ calendars, tradition seems to dictate that this will be something bold and peaty, and possibly from Kilchoman… The 2019 Calendar marks three years in a row with a Kilchoman Single Cask as the bottle behind the twenty-fourth door. This time, however, it is not a Kensington Wine Market Single Cask. We already had that bottle back on day three. Today’s bottle is a single cask Kilchoman selected by the gentleman that imports all those great bottles from the Islay distillery into Alberta. His name is Andy Dunn, his company is Gold Medal Marketing, and his single cask is the Kilchoman Alberta Single Cask Madeira Finish.

Andy Dunn, Pouring at One of Our Whisky Festivals

Andy Dunn has been passionate about whisky for a long time, and his company has been responsible for spreading that passion in Alberta for nearly two decades. He introduced many of us to the likes of Kilchoman, and Springbank, and Cadenhead, and Benromach, and Tullibardine,  and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Over the past few years, Andy and Gold Medal Marketing have sourced a few single casks from companies that the import, including Kilchoman, Springbank, and Gordon & MacPhail. Andy has a thing for wine as well as whisky, and imports some of that stuff as well. His fondness for fermented grape juice sometimes shows in his cask selection. His Longrow 17 Year Old that he had bottled for Alberta spent half of its life in an ex-Chardonnay Cask. This is the second bottling of Kilchoman he has sourced in the past two years, the previous bottle being and ex-Red Wine Cask finish. This Kilchoman we are going to taste today spent time in a Madeira Wine cask.

What exactly is Madeira? It is a type of fortified wine, made exclusively on the island of Madeira. The island is Portuguese and lies in the Atlantic, southwest of Portugal and near directly west of Morocco, though it is about 800 to 1000KM away from either coast. Historically, the island of Madeira was an important stop on many shipping routes between Africa, Europe, and England. Ships that stopped here would load some Madeira wine, which is fortified, but also intentionally oxidized and cooked in the island’s warm climate during its ageing process.

Madeira wine ranges from sweet to bone dry in style, and because of how it is oxidized and essentially cooked during ageing, it can last a tremendously long time in the bottle. Some bottles have been shown to last well over a century. During the 1700 and 1800s, this made it the wine ideal for ship travel compared to other wine styles since it was already oxidized and cooked. Other wines had difficulty surviving the long voyages and extreme changes in weather, but this would not have much effect on the Madeira wine.

To recap: Here we have a young, heavily peated Single Malt Scotch from Kilchoman Distillery. It started its life in an ex-Bourbon cask and spent nearly seven years there before it was transferred to an ex-Madeira for nearly a year in before being selected by Andy Dunn of Gold Medal Marketing to be sold exclusively within Alberta. So, how does a Madeira cask effect a heavily peated style of whisky? Let’s taste Andy’s Kilchoman and find out!

Kilchoman Alberta Single Cask Madeira Finish

Selected by Andy Dunn at Gold Medal Marketing and bottled exclusively for the Alberta market. This 7 Year (and 9 months) Kilchoman was finished for 11 months in a Madeira Cask after maturing in ex-Bourbon. This is Kilchoman’s heavily peated style, bottled at 50PPM. 56.2%.

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: A hard minerality mixed with ashy notes and red fruit. Burnt toast with strawberry jam, berry pop tarts, cigar ash, chlorine swimming pool, ham and pineapple pizza and a dash of mint oil.

Palate: Big waves of fruit and smoke right away on the tongue, cracked pepper, a dusting of chilli powder, jam-filled doughnuts, strawberries with whipped cream and hint of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges.

Finish: Fading spice, ashy fruit and a creamy note that sticks around for a while.

Comment: I wasn’t a big fan of this one the first time I tasted it, but if you give it a while to soften up in the glass, it offers a lot of flavour and still packs a punch.

Twenty-four bottles down, and only one SMWS bottle to go! What will the Scotch Malt Whisky Society bring us for Christmas Day? See you soon!

Cheers Andy!
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*The Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar is produced under license from Secret Spirits, Scotch Whisky Advent Calendarâ„¢
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