The New Kid on Islay.
Kilchoman (pron. Kil-Ho-Man), is the first distillery to be established on Islay in over 124 years. It was started in 2005 by Anthony Wills, who ran an independent single cask bottling company for 8 years, and was immersed in building the ultimate farm distillery, where he’d take Whisky back to its roots.
The Kilchoman distillery is unique for several reasons. It's one of only six Scotch distilleries to carry out traditional floor maltings, and one of only two to do the malting, distilling, maturing and bottling on premise. Furthermore, they grow their own Barley on the farm itself, whereas most other distilleries purchase it around the country (or even abroad). They use 30% of their own barley, and the balance is purchased from Port Ellen Maltings. It’s one of the smallest Scotch distilleries, with an annual output of 120,000 litres, and when you talk about artisanal, this is as good as it gets with Scotch Whisky. They've been rocking it ever since they started, and we should all be mega excited to see where it leads to next.
Machir Bay is their main product. It's a vatting of 4 and 5-year-old Bourbon cask matured Whisky, Oloroso-finished malt. The 2012 was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirit Competition, and it was also named Whisky of the Year at the International Whisky Competition. While the 2013 did not get as many awards, it's still one of the most exciting new Scotch releases out there, with a different style than you'd expect from an Islay Scotch. Still peated, mind you, but just different. It's more subdued, expressed differently. It's released once a year, so we're keen to see how they progress year-by-year.