Today the sun took the day off. Though fresh and grey, frankly it was a respite from baking distillery courtyards – though we weren’t complaining – only sunburned and a little heat-struck at times.
Kilchoman are in the process of more than doubling production. From 230,000 lpa last year, 2018-19 will realise nearly 280000 litres. From 2019 onwards, they hope to be producing half a million litres of whisky per year. The new maltings facility [main pic], was due to be up and running by now .
Kilchoman Open Day felt more folky and family-centric than the others, with music and dancing a core theme, supplied by Trail West, Heron Valley, Reely Jiggered and the Islay Pipe Band. There were also plenty of activities on offer such as ‘be a bottler for the day’ and Islay farm tours as well as a masterclass for Club Members. Like Bruichladdich, there was a well stocked and interesting whisky bar as well as a separate cocktail bar and even a BBQ.
Also like Bruichladdich, people were allowed to wander round the distillery and take photos whilst it was in operation and nothing blew up! Again, we were able to try the wash on request.
Kilchoman wash 
- Less fruity, more mineral-y than others, more savoury than sweet.
With hundreds of peeps forming a long snake from the still house to the courtyard entrance & through the heart of the shop to grab their Feis Ile booty, the bar was at times near empty. Time to try!
Kilchoman 2007/2018 11yo Ob. Feis Ile 2018 Bourbon barrels #34, 65, 82 & 83 [744 bts] 55.5% WB86.36]
- N: Reasonably weighted clean barley juice with a light peaty=smoky minerality.
- T: Potent sustained arrival with a decent body & mouthfeel, delivering a few decent key notes on the palate as well as on the nose.
- F: Finally comes the dry smoke without losing mouthfeel & the fairly clean chewy barley body.
- C: When you consider this is Kilchoman’s oldest release since they started out in 2005, £111 for a bottle didn’t seem to deter either tourists nor fans.
Scores 85 points
Kilchoman 2006/2018 12yo Ob. Distillery shop exclusive PX Sherry cask #49/2006 [207 bts] 55.3% WB88.07
- N: Even more body than the Feis Ile 11yo with citrus & fruity PX notes.
- T: A fruitier palate and longer travel,…
- F: ,.. with even more defined cask balance.
- C: Thumbs up. At time of writing, around 10% of this cask’s outturn is unopened in Whiskybase members’ collections!
Scores 87 points