Scotch Review: Kilchoman Machir Bay

Kilchoman

Kilchoman is a relative newcomer to the Islay whisky scene, but is already drawing favorable reviews equivalent to its elder island cousins, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.  Beginning production in 2005, the distillery orders the same malt specifications as Ardbeg but employs a drastically different vision to its product.  Without wholly abandoning the peaty identity that Islay whiskies have become known for, Kilchoman markets a younger, fresher spirit to whisky enthusiasts.

Machir Bay is the flagship Kilchoman release.  The release uses malts from Islay’s famous Port Ellen distillery and does not contain an age requirement.

Type: Islay
Proof: 92
MSRP: $58

Color: Straw
Aroma: Honey and caramelized sugar with chestnuts, dry apples, and peat smoke as tertiary aromas
Palate: Light and slightly fruity initial taste with cool, sweet notes extending to the middle taste.  There are medicinal overtones in the middle taste and peat smoke on the long, oily finish.

Andrew:  Kilchoman is breath of fresh air when it comes to Islay whiskys. I like strong peat and smoke as much as anyone else, but Kilchoman proves that an Islay can be just as interesting as the more complex Speysides and Highlands. Excellent single malt, and I’m looking forward to their future releases.

Michael: You can tell by the color of the whisky that this is not a product that has been aged for long.  I think that younger whiskies get something of a bad reputation in the spirit world and are considered less desirable by people who think that the only thing that matters to taste is the number of years the whisky has been in a barrel.  I really enjoyed this whiskey and would certainly consider purchasing it as a “change of pace” Islay.  It maintains a certain freshness without losing the smokey peat I enjoy.  Directly comparing it to Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin might be unfair but of the four Kilchoman still has some catching up to do.

Verdict: Saturn, the seventh level of Paradiso.

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