Review: Kilchoman Am Bùrach
The question remains unanswered: Is the accidental mixing of barrels/distillates more commonplace than public originally were made aware? Is it a new thing in an effort to reduce distillery waste? Is it something marketing and “innovation specialists” have preyed upon as a new best practice and are trying to make commonplace? All of the above?
There have been a few instances in recent years where a “whoopsie” blend has made it to market (like Wild Turkey Forgiven). But however well intended their premise, they rarely serve as anything but novelty for consumers with flush pockets or tourists looking for something special to bring home as a conversation piece for the basement bar. It checks the “something different” box for all parties involved. A win-win-win.
Now Kilchoman is the latest brand bringing a blend to market as a result of this comedy of errors. In this episode, a zany employee was most likely looking at TikTok or Twitter and hilarity ensued. There was an accidental blending of Machir Bay and Port Matured Kilchoman while vatting casks. The result? Am Bùrach, which we are told means “the mess” when translated from native Gaelic. More specifically, “The Mess” was matured for nine years as a blend of bourbon/sherry matured whisky with port cask whisky, recessed into bourbon barrels for six years, and finished in ruby Port casks.
Quite a mess, but a welcome one. Surprisingly there is lots to enjoy here, especially if Kilchoman tickles your brand fancy. A lovely note of red gala apple on the nose, with a little bit of cereal and peat that gets sweeter the longer it sits. A little bit of acidity on the palate with lemon zest and summer berry that kicks towards the end. A bit of signature Islay peat makes its presence known but never gets too overbearing. The finish calms things down softly with mild vanilla, red currant, and ripe plum lingering but never outstaying its welcome.
This is less a mess and more a happy accident than the marketing yarn belies — although the ‘2020 Edition’ screed on the packaging welcomes inquiry as to whether or not more errors will be arriving to market next year. Hopefully those distillery workers receive generous bonus wages for their innovative mishaps.
A- / $100