Drinks Cab­i­net

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food And Drink - Andy Gem­mell’s

Kil­choman Dis­tillery Is­lay

His­tory: The Kil­choman Dis­tillery started pro­duc­tion in 2005. Its cre­ator, An­thony Wills, had run a suc­cess­ful in­de­pen­dent sin­gle cask busi­ness and his wife was orig­i­nally from the is­land. Af­ter a tough job of rais­ing funds, he made his dream a re­al­ity to bring back the lost art of farm dis­till­ing.

The whisky: Kil­choman is not as smoky as most Is­lay whiskies. Don’t get me wrong, you still get a whiff of peat smoke but it is more sub­tle and lighter than the other big-hit­ters. The char­ac­ter is a clean, fresh, sweet and cit­rus style of spirit. In Septem­ber 2009, their first whisky was re­leased to the world. They in­vest heav­ily in qual­ity casks here and have an ethos of re­al­is­ing younger ma­tured sin­gle malt be­liev­ing that older age state­ments don’t mean bet­ter whisky. The dis­tillery’s core ex­pres­sion is Machir Bay, named af­ter the lo­cal and beau­ti­ful beach; it was launched in 2012 to great ac­claim. There’s also Sanaig, named af­ter an in­let on Is­lay’s rugged At­lantic coast, Loch Gorm, named af­ter a fa­mously dark and peaty loch over­looked by the dis­tillery, and 100% Is­lay in which ev­ery bit of liq­uid in the bot­tle is cre­ated at Kil­choman from grow­ing the bar­ley to bot­tling the whisky it­self.

Favourite dram: As well as the range above, there are some fan­tas­tic sin­gle cask re­leases if you can get your hands on them. If I had to choose a favourite, then it would be one that I only re­cently tasted, The Kil­choman Sauternes cask fin­ish. The whisky in­side this bot­tle has been ma­tured in ex-bour­bon casks then fin­ished in Sauternes casks from the Sauternes re­gion in Bordeaux for five months giv­ing it a de­light­fully fruity and caramel char­ac­ter. It doesn’t break the bank ei­ther com­ing in at about £75.

Why visit? This is a must-see if you are com­ing to visit dis­til­leries on the is­land. Its smaller size means a more per­sonal and in­for­ma­tive tour with some of the most knowl­edge­able guides I have met. The ba­sic tour lasts an hour for £10, and you can even hang about in the shop and cafe af­ter­wards. As al­ways I would rec­om­mend call­ing ahead to book your space.

In­ter­est­ing fact:

This is not a big dis­tillery, it is tiny com­pared to some of the is­land’s pow­er­houses. Kil­choman makes the same amount of spirit in one year as its Caol Ila Dis­tillery does in one week: ap­prox­i­mately 200,000 litres of al­co­hol.

Fol­low me on In­sta­gram @andy­drink1

Don’t get me wrong, you still get a whiff of peat smoke but Kil­choman is more sub­tle and lighter than the other big-hit­ters

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