KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 24 â€“ Kilchoman 2007 KWM 10 Year
The Isle of Islay is the home to some of the most iconic distilleries in Scotland: Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich and more. It is a Mecca for whisky lovers the world over, and when Anthony Wills had a dream to open his own distillery Islay was the only place to do it. He didnâ€™t want to build a large modern distillery when the barley is trucked in and the spirit trucked away. The industry has changed a lot over the last century, and some of the charm and tradition has been lost along the way. With Kilchoman (pronounced Kil-ho-man) Anthony wanted to build a farm distillery, returning Islayâ€™s whisky industry to its roots.
Kilchoman not only malts some of its barley on site, but it grows it in the fields surrounding the distillery. The distillery was founded at Rockside Farm on the Western side of Islay. For a few short years it was the westernmost distillery in Scotland. An even smaller distillery on the Isle of Lewis bares this honour today. Rockside farm is located a mile inland from the beautiful white sands of Machir Bay, and beyond that lies thousands of miles of open ocean until you hit the east coast of Canada. For most of the 11+ years it has now been producing whisky there was a bit of an uneasy relationship between Kilchoman and the farm, that came to an end a couple years ago, when the distillery literally bought the farm.
In addition to producing the whisky on site, Kilchoman is also one of the few distilleries in Scotland to bottle on site. Would it disappoint you to learn that some of the best know whisky brands in Scotland are reduced to bottling strength with de-ionized city tap water? Both Kilchoman and Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay bottle their whiskies with the same water they use to produce them.
With more than a decade of distilling behind it, and demand that seemingly outstrips supply each and every year, Kilchoman has a lot of wind in its sails. The distillery is in the midst of a big expansion, at least by Kilchomanâ€™s standards, with production set to more than double from 200,000L a year, to more than 450,000L a year. This might sound like a lot, but it is still less than 1/8th of Laphroaigâ€™s production and not even 7% of Caol Ilaâ€™s. But still fans of this bold but smooth Islay malt, can expect to see a lot more of it in the decades ahead.
And more importantly, this year we have a special treat. To help us celebrate our 25th Anniversary, Founder and Owner Anthony Wills was kind enough to let us select and bottle one of Kilchomanâ€™s oldest casks. Our 2007 Kilchoman is the oldest whisky from the distillery to be sold in Canada, and it doesnâ€™t disappoint. A sign of even greater things to come!
â€“ 56.6% – Ex-Bourbon Barrel â€“ Andrewâ€™s Tasting Note: â€œNose: creamy, decadent and briny with a whiff of smoke from the coals of a smouldering beach fire; classic Kilchoman fresh lemon, goat cheese and Old English Butterscotch; smoked mussels and pan seared scallops. Palate: big, sweet, oily and malty; sweet vanilla and butterscotch morph into tendrils of vanilla, chewy malt and tarry-medicinal-peat; more lemon and goat cheese, firm toasted oak, fennel and Dutch licorice; underneath it all a thick layer of ripe orchard fruits. Finish: bold, long and rich yet smooth and so so salty: more Dutch licorice, juicy malt and tarry-peat; the smouldering beach fire returns with some sweet vanilla, lemon and orchard fruit. Comment: we are honoured that Anthony Wills was willing to share one of these precious early vintage Kilchomans will us; bottled just days past its 10th birthday!â€ – $200 for 700ml â€“ or – $30 of 50ml