Monday, December 6, 2021

Kilchoman Sanaig Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

In July, I had the opportunity to review Machir Bay from Kilchoman. I was shocked as to how good and different it was. As such, when I was given a chance to review Sanaig, I jumped at the opportunity.

If you're not familiar with Kilchoman, it is one of the nine working distilleries on the small island of Islay. It calls itself Islay's Farm Distillery. The barley is grown on-premises, and this is an actual grain-to-glass operation. 

"Our stills, the smallest on Islay and amongst the smallest in Scotland, create unmatched purity of spirit. Their unique size and shape produce unparalleled levels of copper contact, allowing for the marriage of earthy, maritime peat smoke and light floral citrus which characterises Kilchoman single malt.

Kilchoman is matured in an array of casks, sourced directly from the finest producers around the world. Each oak cask adds its own distinct colour and flavour to the maturing whisky, balancing the character of that particular cask with Kilchoman's classic peat smoke and floral sweetness." - Kilchoman 

Unlike Machir Bay, Sanaig is mostly former sherry casks and a small portion of former Bourbon barrels. The peat level is 50ppm, it is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and carries no age statement, although rumors indicated it is between five and seven years. Bottled at 46% ABV (92°), you can expect to pay about $70.00 for a 750ml package. Sanaig should be reasonably easy to find as it is one of the core expressions from this distillery.

Before I get to the tasting notes and rating, I'd like to thank Impex Beverage for providing a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Sanaig showed off a dark, amber color. Likely, that deep color comes from the sherry cask influence. A medium ring formed, giving way to thick, watery legs that fell back to the pool.

Nose:  Peat and sherry notes hit me while my glass was still resting about three feet from my face. As I placed it at my chin, the smoky peat was more defined. Beneath it was raisin, peach, apple, and orange citrus. Nutmeg popped out, along with plum and cherry. It was like I was stuck in an orchard to fend for myself. As I drew the vapor into my mouth, peach rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was like an oil slick. It coated and stuck to the roof of my mouth. Prune and dark cherry started the journey along with the smoky peat. At mid-palate, I discovered brown sugar, mesquite, caramel, and English toffee. Dark chocolate, French oak, barrel char, clove, and orange zest warmed my mouth on the back.

Finish: Black pepper and clove carried through the entire finish, which I found pretty long in duration. The rest consisted of raisin, prune, brown sugar, French oak, clove, and smoky peat. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Sanaig was one of those mind-blowing whiskies. The nose and palate were amazingly complicated but managed to also complement one another. I loved the nosing to finish and everything in between. In my opinion, Sanaig blows Machir Bay out of the water, and I enjoyed Machir Bay tremendously. There was a total lack of anything remotely astringent, which is another plus. Tie all that up with the very affordable investment, and that's a perfect recipe for a Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

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