In a recent feature on the site as part of Islay Week I headed behind the scenes at Kilchoman, Islay’s most recent and smallest whisky distillery.
The distillery, which was set up on a farm in 2005 by Anthony Wills, was a brilliant reminder for myself of my days growing up on a farm in the Canadian countryside and was a beautiful place to go and visit.
As I was driving and traveling solo on my trip to Islay, I did not do much sampling, but was luckily enough given a few whiskies to take away with me which I’ve had the chance to sample.
Without further adieu, here’s what I thought of each of them:
Machir Bay 2013: 50ppm: 46%:
(c): Lemon curd
(n): An initially gentle peat for that level. A bit salty with a good whack of grainy marzipan thrown in that makes it more complex. A gentle grassy note is there too, as is a touch of something floral. Lots going on.
(p): A dark, rich, ashy smoke leads, before that sweetness which is predominate on the nose come through. Then, burnt popcorn, butter and melted brown sugar. A good oily body with a bit of a chilli bite.
(f): An oily nuttiness. And then some lemon.
In conclusion: Lots going on with this one. It shows how the nose and palate of a whisky can diverge in different directions, leading to a complicated whisky. One to sit with for a while.
2007 Vintage/Bottled 2013: 50ppm: 46%:
(c): Buttery taupe
(n): Lots of good, zingy, American oak notes come through: vanilla, fresh wood, yellow fruits. Again, the peat is there but the nose leads on sweetness. Fizzy lemon sherbets and marzipan.
(p): Initially cooling with great body. Lots of spicy oakiness, big lemons and ashy, toasted marshmallows. Slightly floral and peppery.
(f): Vanilla ash.
In conclusion: A big, spicy whisky on the palate but more gentle on the nose than you might expect. Bold, lots going on.
100% Islay Single Cask – Cask #319: 25ppm: 60.9%:
(c): Runny honey
(n): A rich, creamy nose with lots of fleshy fruits (peaches/apricots), just a bit of zingy lemons and only a faint peatiness. A bit of minerality there too. With water, nose just becomes more appealing. Gentle fruits mingle with just a hint of peat. It’s lovely.
(p): An earthy, farm whisky – there’s something in this that reminds me of fresh hay and muddy roads: slightly bitter, slightly dry, slightly earthy. A nice sweetness run through it but a few seconds into the sip, there’s a sharp, acidic, slightly farmy spike. With water, the palate becomes less peppery/earthy and opens up. There’s less ‘bounce’ in the flavours.
In conclusion: I absolutely loved the nose on this one but think it really needs water to even out the palate. Enjoyable and complicated.