Looking for a little something to tide me over, I hit up the whisky closet and selected a soon-to-be-empty bottle of Kilchoman. I had bought the Machir Bay after sampling it during a WhiskyCast Virtual Tasting. While I am have not really been a big fan of peated whisky, I have begun to expand my reach and thought after that first taste that this might be a good transition whisky from the sweeter Speyside and spicier Highlands that fill my closet.
Kilchoman is a young distillery having been founded in 2005. It was the first Islay distillery built in 124 years and the current line-up offers the Machir Bay, the Loch Gorm (a sherry cask), the 100% Islay (which sources all the materials from within Islay), the Vintages (all Bourbon casks), and the Single Casks.
Here is what Kilchoman has to say about their Machir Bay:
The Machir Bay range is Kilchoman’s core expression, first launched in 2012 when it won the prestigious IWSC 2012 Gold Award – Best in Class. Bottled once a year, each release contains more mature casks allowing Kilchoman fans to follow the development of the unique Kilchoman malt as it matures. Matured in a combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, Machir Bay has a well-balanced combination of rich tropical fruit, peat smoke, light vanilla and intense sweetness.
I found the Machir Bay to be…
- Appearance: Pale straw color.
- Aroma: Astringent, Band-Aids, smoked meat (thick cut bacon, sausages, Hillshire Farms)
- Taste: A little bit of everything. There is definitely the expected hit of smoke but I found it to be more like a smokehouse than a brushfire. Then, you find the spicy and peppery flavors take hold followed quickly by a little syrupy sweetness and ending in a pleasant, warming heat.
- ABV: 46%
I have to say that while not a Peathead, I am enjoying making my way through Islay. And, while I don’t think I will move all the way to a Lagavulin or even a Laphroaig, the Kilchoman could definitely find itself with a regular spot in my whisky closet. I think I’ll look for a bottle of the Loch Gorm and see how the sherry cask stacks up against the Machir Bay.