Kilchoman Whisky Flight

Kilchoman Whisky Flight

Islay Madness


6.7/10
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Dear Venerable Scotch Elders
 
There’s some young blood coursing through Islay’s veins. Now before you start puffin’ your chests, we’ve got a word of advice: scoot your stool over and make some room at the bar. Exchange a few pleasantries with the newbs. Truth is, these farm-distillin’ folks are making some mighty fine stuff
 
And that takes us to the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland: Islay. That’s where you’ll find Kilchoman, one of Scotland’s youngest distilleries. In fact, it’s the first distillery to be built on the island in over 124 years—how’s that for some context? As it turns out, Kilchoman’s founderAnthony Wills, has a taste for tradition (and some damn good Scotch). That’s what inspired him to revive the lost art of farm distillation, a method that was widely used before the mass commercialization of distilleries in the 1800s. 
 
On that farm, they harvest Islay’s fertile grounds for barley before using the traditional—but rarely used—method of floor malting. The barley is peated using ocean-soaked peat bogs before its mashed, fermented and matured in Bourbon barrels and Sherry butts sourced directly from the world-renowned Buffalo Trace distillery in the U.S. and Bodega Miguel Martin in Spain.
 
Oh, and this stuff’s the real deal: Kilchoman’s 100% Islay range remains the only Islay single malt produced completely on site, from barley to bottle.
 
In the box, you’ll experience exactly what we’re talking about. Machir Bay, Kilchoman’s signature Scotch, balances that classic Islay character with a subdued floral complexity. The smooth, young Sanaig talks a lot of smack—it unabashedly slaps your palate with a smoke-infused notes of dark chocolate-covered raisins. And the Kilchoman U.S. Small Batch Limited Edition is a very limited experimental delight.
Here’s to Islay’s young guns…

Slainte!
 
Smartass Corner
 
1) What’s in name? To be considered a single malt Scotch, a bottle may only contain Whisky distilled from malted barley and produced at a single distillery.  
 
2) Good things come in small batches: Kilchoman is one of the smallest Scotch distilleries, producing around 120,000 liters a year. By comparison, Ardbeg—one of Islay’s most famous distilleries—pumps out over one million liters annually.
 
3) All they do is win, win, win: Kilchoman’s Machir Bay, a vatting of four and five-year-old Bourbon cask matured and Oloroso-finished malt, was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirit Competition and named Whisky of the Year at the International Whisky Competition. 
 
4) “Sanaig” is the name of a little natural stream that runs by the distillery. And it makes sense for Kilchoman’s eponymous bottle—it tastes light and fresh without losing its peaty Islay character.
 
5) The island of Islay itself plays a large role in the taste of its Whiskies. That’s because Islay is largely composed of peat. In fact, most of the water there has a brown-ish hue due to its abundance. But that’s not all—the winter gales that blow sea salt inland also factor into some of the briney notes you’ll find in their Whiskies.
 
6) Alright, interesting enough. But what exactly is peat? Peat is thousands of years’ worth of decaying vegetation, animals and moss which have evolved into layers that eventually form a bog. It grows at approximate 1mm per year, meaning a bog that’s one meter thick has been around for about a thousand years.
 
7) Ever heard someone say that got ‘blind drunk’? The term comes from the product of early Whisky distilling practices. Brewers didn’t realize the Beer they were condensing into liquor contained methanol, a raw form of antifreeze that made people blind.
 

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Scotch Whisky is seldom aged in new barrels. Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey casks are usually used for maturation. In addition to that, Whisky is often matured or finished in various wine casks such as Sherry or Port.

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Ratings & Reviews
Member Reviews and Ratings of Kilchoman Whisky Flight
Bharat
Bharat,
This was our first taste. Awesome experience.
 
Kyle
Kyle,
Pretty good single malts
 
Caressa
Caressa,
Super smokey, I enjoyed the limited edition one the most but just couldn’t get past the smoke flavor.
 
Joel
Joel,
I loved them all. Great peaty taste, but smith and full of surprising flavors
 
Jared
Jared,
I was curious about Kilchoman and this flight was a great chance to explore this distillery. As an Islay lover, who appreciates integrity malts, I'm now a big fan.
 
Artur
Artur,
way too smokey!!!
 
Carlos
Carlos,
Machir Bay is, by far, one of my favorite peated, young Scotch -- really eye-opening. The other two are just okay, but Machir Bay will be a future buy for sure. An amazing feat for such a young distillery. I'm surprised at the low ratings of Machir Bay here. Taste really IS subjective. Anyway, this sampler is highly recommended. Kilchoman is a remarkable distillery.
 
David
David,
My understanding of Islay has admittedly been primarily influenced by Laphroaig and Lagavulin. These Kilchoman samples were a weak expression of Islay by those standards.
 
Antti
Antti,
An outstanding Kilchoman Whisky Flight!
 
Liam
Liam,
Good sample of great scotch. All three were tasty with subtle differences
 
Oren
Oren,
Too smokey for my tastes.
 
Barbara
Barbara,
The first two were pretty smokey for me but I liked the 3rd sample.
 
Dave
Dave,
Mild. Very Drinkable.
 
Matthew
Matthew,
All tasted overly smokey, not really my thing.
 
Spencer
Spencer,
Overall I really enjoyed these samples. The clear differences between each. Flavors were easy to pick out in Machir Bay, a little harder in the small batch, and Sanaig had me adding a couple drops of water.
 
Michael
Michael,
The samples tasted like rocket fuel. Literally tasted like charcoal lighter fluid. Friends agreed. Not a good choice at all. #1 was the worst and 2 & 3 were a little milder. Seriously I can’t believe anybody would drink any of these. Very disappointed. Hopefully my next choices are better
 
Sujoy
Sujoy,
Solid drams and gives you a good sample of what Islay is all about. Not the best but not bad either.
 
Artur
Artur,
just way too smoky, smoke covers everything else :(
 
Matthew
Matthew,
Very much enjoyed the Kilchoman tastings, and appreciated the significant differences between the machir bay and sanaig, enjoying different aspects of both. Further proof that I prefer islay scotch.
 
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