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!