Well, one of the whiskies was a brand new one: Kilchoman Sauternes Cask Matured, 5 YO, bottled at 50 ABV. It was released the week before we visited; Monday 5th September 2016. This is what the distillery says:
Released in September 2016, the Sauternes Cask Matured was limited to just 6,000 bottles. It followed the Port and Madeira cask matured expressions released in 2014 and 2015 respectively and continued our commitment to small batch ‘full term maturation’ rather than the more common practice of finishing whisky in such casks for a short period prior to bottling. Quarter casks, roughly a quarter the size of a 500 litre Butt, allow for increased whisky to wood contact within the barrel which has created pronounced caramel and vanilla character along with fruit notes and peat smoke typical of Kilchoman spirit.
Smoke and peat on the nose. Tobacco. The smell was a bit sour, like driftwood. Slightly fresh with a hint of eucalyptus. The usual (to me at least) meaty nose is present. Smoky and rich on the palate. Quite sweet actually with licorice as the dominating taste. The finish is dry with orange, orange peel, nutshells and peat. The smoke dominates too much, I think. It hides the most typical Kilchoman notes and makes it a different whisky. This reflects in my score. I am usually a huge Kilchoman fan, but the Sauternes maturation is obviously not my favourite when it comes to Kilchoman.
I remember Leah, our tour guide, thought our description of Kilchoman nose and palate as “meaty” was funny 🙂
My score: nose 20 / taste 21 / finish 20 / balance 20 = 81