Whisky Focus - Kilchoman Celebrates 15 Years Of Whisky Making/h1>

Kilchoman Celebrates 15 Years Of Whisky Making

16th December 2020
Kilchoman celebrates 15 year of whisky production at their Islay farm distillery.

Kilchoman distillery pictured in 2005 and 2015.

Kilchoman distillery on Islay went into production back in 2005, it was the first new distillery on the Isle of Islay in 124 years and almost exactly 15 year to this day, on 14th December 2005, they filled the very first Kilchoman cask at the distillery.

The distillery was founded by Anthony Wills and is Islay’s only farm distillery, producing Single Farm Single Malt Whisky and it is one of the few whisky distilleries in Scotland to remain independently owned and run by the Wills family.

Just over 3 years later in 2009 as their spirit came of age the very first Kilchoman single malt whisky was released, a limited run of 3 year old which was bottled for general release from the 9th September 2009.

The increasing popularity of the whisky they produce at Kilchoman led the owners to double production in 2019 with the construction of a second distillery which mirrored the existing one taking Kilchoman's production capacity to 480,00 litres perannum.

Anthony Wills comparing barley.

Comparing barley varieties and how they influence the character of the spirit is something Kilchoman Distillery often talk about. Anthony Wills, Founder & Managing Director, is a great believer that barley variety and yeast type plays a huge part in the overall characteristics of the spirit and it is something which he enjoys experimenting with. The different barley varieties are now kept completely separate throughout the whole production process and in cask.

Kilchoman have grown concerto as their consistent choice of barley variety for the last five or six years and have found it performs very well. For the last three years they’ve experimented with growing a different variety of barley alongside the concerto. In 2019 they grew sassy for the first time on the farm and are now running it through the production process. Immediately differences in the character at the mashing and fermentation stages were noticed. On the nose, the characteristics are different. Sassy has a lemon and citrus note, it is very clean and fresh whereas concerto, although also very clean and fresh, it has more creaminess about it, richer and perhaps more depth.

Although there are very clear differences in the character of the spirit at this stage, Anthony still believes that the cask plays the biggest part in terms of the overall character of the single malt that you will enjoy, Anthony commented: "It will be interesting to continue making these comparisons between the spirit from concerto and sassy throughout the maturation stage".

If you have a taste for peaty whisky you should like Kilchoman, they produce a number of quality peaty single malts today, their core range consists of the outstanding Kilchoman Machir Bay and Sanaig and there are regular releases of the limited edition bourbon cask matured Kilchoman 100% Islay and sherry matured Loch Gorm. There are also limited edition one off releases once and a while which are worth looking out for.

You will find the current Kilchoman whisky range available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

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