Category Archives: Kilchoman

It’s not everyday that I get a mention on Islay’s “The Ileach” newspaper…


Special thanks to my good friend Andy for pointing this one out to me and sending the pic (as blurry as it is)!

Oh, and in other news, Bruichladdich just sold to Remy Cointreau…

In case you missed my Islay Distillery/Rock Band comparison posts, here is a link to each one:

  1. Part one:Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols
  2. Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer
  3. Part three: Caol Ila as The 80′s (They get their very own decade!)
  4. Part four:Bowmore as David Bowie
  5. Part five: Kilchoman as the Jackson Five (somewhat fitting, in retrospect, with them both bearing the number five).
  6. Part six: Bunnahabhain as R.E.M.
  7. Part seven: Lagavulin as Led Zeppelin
  8. Part eight: Laphroaig as Iggy Pop

Islay distilleries explained thru Rock and Roll comparisons – Part 5 – Kilchoman & my review of the new Machir Bay (UK bottling)


Islay distilleries and their whiskies explained through Rock and Roll – Part V (of VIII)

We’ve made it over the hump.  There are eight active distilleries on Islay and so far I’ve lead us through four of them and what I deem their rock & roll likenesses to be:  Part one:Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols, Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer, Part three: Caol Ila as The 80′s (They get their very own decade!) and Part four: Bowmore as David Bowie.

I thought reviewing Kilchoman might be the best way to kick off the 2nd half of this series.  At 6 years old, Kilchoman is Islay’s youngest distillery and they are kicking out some absolutely cracking whisky!  Age be damned, Kilchoman is all about quality.

Today we’ll review the new Machir Bay whisky (the UK bottling – we will see a bottling here in the US very shortly) which is a mixture of 3yo (60%), 4yo (35%)  & 5yo (5%) ex-bourbon barrel (Buffalo Trace to be exact) matured whiskies.  Before batting it all together, the 4yo whisky was further matured in oloroso sherry butts for an addition six weeks (to help round out some of the flavors, methinks — it’ll help add some nice color to the whisky as well).

Kilchoman Machir Bay – 46%ABV – $55 | £39

On the nose — It’s quite obvious that Kilchoman has a true style and character.  Initial whiff and yup, this is a Kilchoman.

And it’s lovely.

Quite sweet smelling under all of that peat — fruity and tart (tart apples in an apple tart).

The obvious brine and smoke are waving a flag saying “hello, hello!!  here we are!!”  Citrusy notes here as well.  Lemon, lime… limon?

This aside, I’m enjoying some buttered toast notes and even a salted pie crust like scent.

On the mouth — Thick, full, oily whisky.

Much like what I experienced on the nose however there is the slight addition of sherry influence here.  Think light milk chocolates and spice.

There’s a bit of pepper here and something that I just love: salted black licorice.

Nice and even keeled – No huge sign of being too young.

Finish — Very long and laced with more licorice and even a touch of grilled apples.

In sum — Impressed yet again with Kilchoman.  It’s obvious they know what they’re doing.  This whisky is peaty/smoky enough for the peat heads out there and complex enough for the whisky geeks and just perfect, if you ask me, for a summer’s day.

I find this Kilchoman to be bright and fresh and has a bit of a pick-me-up feel to it.  Highly recommended.


Kilchoman – The Band!

Initially, I thought the easy comparison to make with Kilchoman (as sort of the new kid on Islay) would be to make a comparison to a rock band that was comprised of youth.

Bands that come to mind:

  • Hanson (mmmbop, no)
  • Old Skull (I forgot how terrible this band was)
  • Justin B… I’m not even going to go there

Well, that didn’t work out so I decided to think of bands I love that have had hit after hit after hit (like Kilchoman has enjoyed with their whiskies).

I was happy to finally think of a band that had both youth, great music and hit after hit after hit…

Kilchoman – congrats!  You are the Jackson Five!  A truly incredible band and truly delicious whiskies.

Special thanks goes to JJY for getting me a bottle of this fancy sauce!

Live in or near NYC? Come meet John MacLellan of Kilchoman and taste some of his fine whiskies!

If you live in or near NYC, you may want to take some time of your busy evening one day next week to meet with John MacLellan of Kilchoman.  He is going to be sharing some of his finest Islay, peated whiskies.

Here is the current schedule:


Venue: Ward  III

Time:  8:00pm-9:30pm

Address:  111 Reade Street New York, NY

Phone: (212) 240-9194

(I plan to be at this event)



Venue: Village Wine & Spirits

Time: 7:00pm

Address:  45 Harts Village Road, Millbrook NY

Phone: (845) 677-3311



Venue:  John Allan’s Mens Salon Tribeca

Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Address:  418 Washington Street (between Vestry and Laight) NY, NY

Phone:  (212) 334-5358



Venue: Vintry Wine & Whiskey

Time:  6:00pm – 8:00pm

Address:  57 Stone Street, NY, NY

Phone:  (212) 480-9800

You can read my reviews of Kilchoman’s whiskies here.  Some fine Islay whisky!!!

Kilchoman Spring 2011 Release – Very mature for its age.

Islay region – 46%ABV – $41 – $60 (another crazy spread in US prices.  And believe it or not, some places sell for more!) | £39

Kilchoman is a very young distillery on Islay in Scotland (young, like only 5 years old, young).  Surely they fall within the peaty style of the island.  With regards to Islay whiskies, only Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain have non-peated whiskies as part of their standard range and as flagship whiskies.

With regards to Kilchoman, from the moment of their inception, Islay whisky-philes have been watching this little farm distillery with a keen eye.  Since their inaugural release, their first REAL whisky (aged at 3 years and 1 day), people have had nothing but good things to say about their products.  The list of people with good reviews is seemingly endless.

As of a later last year, Kilchoman stopped doing their various releases (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and have launched a 2006 vintage – basically a five year old whisky.  To my knowledge, there has been only one indy bottling of Kilchoman and that was put out by the Whisky ExchangeI have had two of their OB single cask bottlings and really enjoyed them (I still had a tiny bit left from my Binny’s Exclusive bottling).

This is my first run-in with a non-single cask Kilchoman.

On the nose –  Only four years old, eh??  Bright and fresh with some smoke and peat and interestingly enough light notes of juniper (charred as it were).

OK, now some of those younger spirity notes creep through – pear drops, fresh apple too.

Some apple bread joins in on the fun as do some brine/coastal notes but it’s not very intense on that front.

Cinnamon over bread pudding.

Paraffin wax and a brininess as well.

On the mouth – Big, mouth coating, oily, smoky, lemons, limes.

There’s nothing young about this.  One could confuse this for a single cask 10yo Ardbeg.

Cooked apples, baked pears, old and heavily used rubbers/wellies.

Lots and lots going on here.

Finish – A lasting fizziness on the tip of my tongue.  Citrus notes remain.

In sum – This is a fine, fine whisky.  While I think I enjoyed the full throttle experience of 60%+ ABV on the two single cask Kilchomans (or would it be Kilchomen at that point?) a bit more, Kilchoman is showing some great promise.  If their whiskies are this good at only 4 years of age, I can’t wait to see what happened when they release a 10yo!  This is a winter warmer-upper.

Special thanks goes out to the good folks over at Impex Beverages for the sample!

The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society vs. Kilchoman Binny’s Single Cask vs. Kilchoman Royal Mile Whiskies Single Cask

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce you to the new kid in town: Kilchoman.

Kilchoman is Islay’s newest/youngest distillery with whiskies currently no older than 3 years of age.  Their style is similar to that of the heavier/smokier/peatier whiskies that come from Islay.  It’s actually the first distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years or so.  Also, the folks at Kilchoman grow their own barley (the distillery is set on a farm, by the by…) as well as malt their own barely in the tradition floor malting way.

So, what do we have today?  Two whiskies.  Both single casks.  Both cask strength.  One is from Binny’s out of Chicago then other is from Royal Mile Whiskies out of the UK.  A big thanks goes out to David H. for the sample. You may remember David from his guest post many months back regarding his trip to Scotland.

Binny’s Single Cask (ex-bourbon) – 61.1%ABV

On the nose A one-two-three combination punch of heat and soot and lemons.  This whisky is going to put up a fight.  Cool, cool.

Let’s see what you got, punk!

Wet cardboard?  What?  You got more?

Oh, some interesting notes of sassafras and even a bit of agave.  Braggart!

What else?

Banana peels, pie crusts and green apples.   Hmpf, now you’re just showing off.  Let give you a taste.

On the mouth Whoa, hot-head…  slow down!  This is our first date!  Don’t make me tame you with water.  I will and don’t think I won’t.  I put you into this glass, I can drink you out!

Let’s start again.

Oh, you’re just a sweetie at heart aren’t you?  I’m tasting sugared lemon hard candies and some salted butter cookies.

Listen, you’re from Scotland, not the tropics… put the toasted coconut shreds away, will you?

Finish You’re medium in length (you are only three after all, nothing to be ashamed of) but you offer up a nice bit of pepper in the finish.

Well met.  Well met.  Good form!

Royal Mile Whiskies (ex-bourbon) 61.7%ABV

On the nose Ok, you wanna start some $#!+ too?  Let’s see what you’re made of, whipper-snapper!

Oh, you’re a bit of a softy.  Nothing like you’re punk-ass brother.

Melted butter and perhaps a few notes of chocolate fudge.

Also, no offense but, you’re a nut!  Walnut to be exact…

You’re peaty, just like your brother but you also wreak of wax and green olives.

On the mouth What in the world am I tasting here?  You’re a bit of a shape shifter.

Soot and tea and sweet powdered candies (pixie six and fun dip).

Marmalade & toast, you’re trying to butter me up now, aren’t you?

Finish Smarties.  Medium length and sugary.

In sum This was a fight to the finish.  Aside from me, I have to say that the Royal Mile Whiskies single cask was easily the victor here.  A whisky that seems to be mature beyond it’s mere three year life span.

Each whisky is nice in it’s own way but I wish I had a full bottle of the Royal Mile Whiskies one…  Both of these will put a spring in your step and give you the energy you need to face the cold winter!

As an aside, after I wrote this post up I realized that Jeff at had already done a Kilchoman vs. Kilchoman post (albeit two different ones than I just did).  His post and tasting notes are fantastic, be sure to check his review out!