Kilchoman as both a whisky and a distillery is unique and fascinating. The distillery bills itself as Islay’s farm distillery and to my knowledge they are the only one in all of Scotland. They are one of only 6 Scotch distilleries who still utilize an on premise malting floor and one of only 2 distilleries that do the malting, distilling, maturing and bottling on premise (the other is Springbank). Kilchoman then takes it just one step further and they also grow the barley themselves making them the only farm to bottle whisky producer in all of Scotchdom.
The Kilchoman distillery first started filling casks in December of 2005 and have been kicking ass and taking awards since then. Primarily they use ex-bourbon barrels to age their whisky, but from time to time they do utilize some sherry butts to finish the whisky. This whisky is one of those times. The Machir Bay release is a vatting (blend) of 4 and 5 year old whisky with the 4 year old whisky spending an additional month in Oloroso sherry butts before being blended with the 5 year and bottled. It’s not enough time for a lot of sherry flavor to come through, but it seems to have add some sweetness to this spry little single malt.
Overall this whisky is damn tasty. It works on every level, is a treat for all the senses and has quickly become one of my favorite sipping whiskies. It shows a remarkable amount of depth, complexity and restraint despite it’s relative youth. With layers of light crisp flavors and soft warm peat blending harmoniously, and balancing sharply, it handily displays the skill and care taken when crafting this whisky. I highly recommend you give this one a try.
If you’ve had the Machir Bay leave your own thoughts or notes in the comments below.
Kilchoman Machir Bay Review
Soft and inviting I could nose this one for hours. Big vanilla, peat, and malt notes swirl about with some green apples, light fruit and a hint of charcoal. I can’t get enough of it.
Love it. The peat comes in a bit heavier on the palate, but not as heavy as a Laphroaig or Lagavulin, and is accompanied by some honey, malt and vanilla. The light fruit crisps up and becomes a bit more tropical bringing with it some notes of salt water taffy and grass. There is a rich sweetness that rides under the palate creating a great underpinning for the rest of the flavors.
46% alcohol and 100% drinkable. Smooth and oily it has a great texture throughout.
Pleasantly long sweet finish of smoke and malt that slowly becomes more wooden as it fades.