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KWM 2022 Whisky Calendar Day 23: Kilchoman Machir Bay

Posted on December 23, 2022

BONUS CONTENT: Read Andrew's post on a very curious Aberlour KWM Cask!

by Evan

We are in the home stretch ladies and gentlemen! If you are following along on the day of this blog, we have made it to Christmas Eve-Eve. Shall we have some whisky to celebrate? Perhaps something peated?

Yesterday, having nothing new to write about Paul John, I managed to pull a blog post out of… the ether, let’s say. Will I be able to do the same thing today for Kilchoman Distillery? Like Paul John, we already talked about one Kilchoman in the 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar back on Day Ten with the Sanaig. Now, for Day 23, we have the Kilchoman Machir Bay!

Machir Bay is the flagship bottle in Kilchoman Distillery’s whisky lineup, and like the Sanaig, Loch Gorm, and other bottlings from other Islay Whisky producers, it is named after a geographical location on the island. Machir Bay itself is about a 5-minute drive from the Kilchoman distillery and only a few hundred metres from the tiny settlement of Kilchoman. The bay contains some rugged and rocky coastline but also a sandy beach.

Now to the whisky. Machir Bay was first introduced in 2012, about six years after Kilchoman first opened. With this being one of Kilchoman’s regular expressions and easily the most obtainable release from the distillery, this looks to be the second time we have featured the Machir Bay in one of our KWM Whisky Calendars. It was likely in our 2014 KWM Whisky Calendar, back then Andrew was etching the blog posts on stone tablets that were distributed via carrier pigeon back then, so unfortunately they have not survived the test of time.

I did find four blog posts from December of 2014 in the archives, including one talking about our Christmas Trees being stolen. I take comfort in knowing that even back then, our entrance was undergoing cosmetic deconstruction. If anybody has seen these stolen trees in the eight intervening years, please call Crimestoppers. I suspect a black Dodge Ram may have been involved, but I cannot prove it due to the BETAMAX security videotape being grainy and not in colour.

Where was I? Oh, right. The Kilchoman Machir Bay is matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks, but much heavier on the ex-Bourbon side of things. The peat level of the malt is around 50 PPM and sourced from Port Ellen Maltings. This is the same spec that Ardbeg Distillery uses. Thanks to its peaty profile and mostly ex-Bourbon cask makeup, Kilchoman’s website states that the main traits of this bottling include “Citrus fruit, layered vanilla and butterscotch”. Let’s give it a taste and see if we agree!

Kilchoman Machir Bay – 46%

Also available in full-size bottles

Machir Bay was the first edition of the Kilchoman core range, and it remains a staple. Matured in First Fill Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, the whisky has been getting older as the distillery's inventory matures. Bottled at 46% without colouring or chill filtering.

Evan’s Tasting

Nose: Salty and coastal with, vanilla yogurt, grapefruit peels, green apples, and mezcal-like spirit notes.

Palate: Dark chocolate and sea salt plus creamy oatmeal with apples and cinnamon, shortbread, and chamomile tea.

Finish: Fresh and coastal with light malt notes.

Comment: So well put together. More salty and coastal than I remember, but it has been a while since I have revisited the Machir Bay. Kilchoman is at its best when it has this creamy style.

See you tomorrow for Day 24!

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This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, KWM Whisky Calendar 2022



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