Roaming in the Kilchoman

Taste Review #19 – Kilchoman Machir Bay

What could be better than Roaming in the Gloaming with Kilchoman?

Kilchoman Distillery

With a swift return back to Islay, we stop upon what once was the youngest whisky distillery in the island until Ardnahoe started production.

Pronounced Kil-ho-man and founded in 2005, the Kilchoman Distillery is based on a farm that grows its own barley, approximately 200 tons a year to make its whisky. This is used to make the 100% Islay bottling. Kilchoman is one of three distilleries on Islay to still use the traditional method of floor malting their barley, and one of seven that use this method in Scotland (Bowmore, Laphroaig, Highland Park, Springbank, Balvenie and Benriach also have operational floor maltings).

Kilchoman Floor Maltings

Barley is also purchased from the Diageo Matings at Port Ellen. It is peated at 50ppm, which is the same as Ardbeg, whereas their own barley is malted to 10-20ppm.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Region

Islay

Age

No Age Stated

Strength

46% a.b.v

Colour

Light Gold

Nose

Medicinal wood smoke, iodine, citrus, vanilla, Toffee fudge.

Palate

Light oily mouthfeel. Peaty, Smokey, citrus and Apple.

Finish

Wood smoke and citrus. Black Pepper

Dram and Bottle

Conclusion

There is no getting away with the fact that this is a young whisky. But remember that young whisky doesn’t necessarily mean poor whisky. This is light enough, and inoffensive enough that it’s actually a not bad dram. However it isn’t great for me. In my mind, I kept comparing it to 10 year old Ardbeg, and Ardbeg won. The whisky in this bottle certainly tastes younger than 10 years old, and it shows.

But let us get down to brass tacks. Ignore the USP of home grown barley from field to bottle, this whisky does two other things right – natural colour and no chill-filtering, and this is a big thumbs up. Bottling strength is 46% which is perfect. I felt it could be a little sharp on the citrus but this calmed down after 5 mil of water was added.

This is a whisky that has had more of a bourbon influence than sherry, and while I might be tempted to try the other whisky in their core range, Sanaig, which has a more sherried profile, I don’t think I will be buying another Machir Bay. Please bear in mind this is only my taste, and while it wasn’t for me, it still felt that it was a quality whisky, although a wee bit longer in the cask for a bit more presence in the mouth may be a good idea.

Machir Bay can be purchased for around £45 for a 70cl bottle. My sample cost £10 from the Whisky Shop, Dufftown.

~~ Tasting Trivia ~~

My sample bottle had a metal twist seal which would not break when I turned the bottle cap. Once it had loosened, it would not tighten, meaning the whisky was at risk from evaporation. I just had to drink the second nip straight away to avoid loss! The sacrifice I have to make in order to review whisky…… 😉

Slainte Mhath!


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Picture credits

Distillery- John Hughes / Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Malting Floor – Ayack / Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

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