I’ve been quite taken with the liquid, and as I’ve dug a little deeper, the story behind it is great too.
Kilchoman is a young distillery, built in 2005 by an established single cask bottler, Anthony Wills.
His idea was to take whisky back to its roots in Scottish farmhouses and by opening the first new distillery on Islay for 124 years, he’s done just that. Rockside Farm grows around 30% of the distillery’s grain, which is malted, peat dried and mashed on the property. The remaining grain comes from the maltings in Port Ellen, making this a truly 100% Islay expression.
Machir Bay is their standard bottling, and exists as a 2012 and 2013 vintage. The idea being to pick up fans and allow them to see the change in the spirit as it, along with the distillery itself gets older.
Aged for 4 or 5 years in ex-Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whisky, with the 4 year old barrels being finished for a month in Oloroso butts from Miguel Martin in Jerez. The whole process, from field to bottle, takes place at the farm which gives the liquid a delightful sense of place.
They’ve a touch over 3,000 cask maturing as we speak, and a annual production of 100,000 litres leaves them languishing near the bottom of the table in terms of output in today’s whisky world.
What you get is a delightfully smooth golden liquid that flows from the bottle like there is a hole in the bottom. There’s smoke on the nose, but it is more restrained than many of it’s island bretheren.
The peat is balanced with floral notes too. In your mouth there’s sweetness, spice and smoke, finishing out over a fair distance.
If it tastes this good as a 4-5 year old, I am looking forward to tasting it at 10, 12 and beyond.
The 2012 won a pile of awards, and the 2013 is getting better reviews, so expect to see it pick up medals to match it’s gorgeous colour as the year rolls on.
$144 from the World of Whisky in Sydney.
There is also a 10,000 bottle special edition called Loch Gorm that delivers a more smoky and medicinal side to this fledgling brand. Definitely one to look out for.