Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Spirit Log: Kilchoman Sanaig

The procurement of this one was almost a case of the alignment of stars and all that shit. It all starts of course, with my general preference for an Islay malt, and my regret at not being able to visit the Kilchoman distillery on my visit there a couple of years ago. Since then a Kilchoman has always been on my “must buy at some point” list, but I’ve always opted for other things until now, and the reason is that I received one of my regular emails from Flaviar.com in which the Kilchoman Sanaig looked to be available for somewhere around £47. They reckoned that was £7 off or something, though it was only a couple of quid cheaper than at Master of Malt.
I had room in my booze budget, so I thought I’d click through and see how much delivery was. Oh. It’s £10.99.
That was that then. Or so I thought, because later in the day I got an automatic email asking if a technical problem had prevented me checking out. I replied informing them that the problem concerned their delivery costs, which made the item more expensive than at their competitors.
At this point, I went home for the weekend and forgot all about it. I don’t check my emails over the weekend, so it was a surprise to find three further emails from Flaviar on Monday morning – one of them offering free delivery. I soon saw though, that the offer only extended to the end of Sunday.
Disappointed, I got on with my work, but a couple of hours later, I thought maybe I’d click the link in the email anyway, and when I did, the order was still showing as free delivery. At this point a little box popped up and told me I could have 8% cashback through Quidco. Then I noticed I still had a £5 credit from ages ago when I’d signed up to Flaviar that I’d figured I’d never get to use. So there you see – not one, not two, but three discounts making this long awaited bottle something of a bargain at £41.99.
Will this work again? I don’t know, but it’s probably worth a try next time. As Flaviar pointed out, shipping costs decrease with every bottle you add to each order, and if you buy 4, your 4th is essentially free. That does mean you’re looking at spending more than £150 on your booze in one go, so it probably rules me out, but I’ll consider them again.
Enough about that, then. What about the product?
I couldn’t find this on the Kilchoman website, and the reason appears to be that it was produced solely for the French market, as the French felt Machir Bay wasn’t sweet enough. It has since spread to other parts of continental Europe. This then, contains more sherry cask content than Machir Bay.
Why would you make something just for the French?!? I don’t know; favourable rates over supplies of garlic, maybe? Advance access to new episodes of Spiral? Baguettes? That’s all I can think of.
So, you get a decent quality blue box, inside of which is a sturdy bottle with matching colour scheme. The stopper is big and tight.
The first thing that hits me is a nice, tangy nose. There’s an element that reminds me of the Glen Scotia 16. The first hit of flavour is unexpected. It’s earthy, but that quickly transforms into being open, sweet and full bodied. That earthiness soon becomes a highlight, but you can only experience it on your first taste each day. It does seem a little young, but it is also well-rounded.
On the second day, the nose was immediate and stunning; vanilla ice cream, then leather and a little bit of mint. Later, tobacco and bacon. There’s lots to admire here.
You may have read some weeks back about how much I was enjoying Talisker’s Skye expression – another no age statement (read: young), peated scotch. At £25 that was an absolute bargain and one I’ll be happy to revisit at some point in the future. To get hold of a bottle of Kilchoman Sanaig, you’re looking at exceeding £50 with your P&P included (unless you’re lucky like I was), but I still think you’d be getting good value. This is another cracking malt, and one that will bring me back to trying Kilchomans more often.
Postscript
Looking ahead a few weeks, I’ll be posting about another peated malt very soon, that I have actually been enjoying even more than this one. So look out for that.


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