Booze Review

Whisky Review – Kilchoman Machir Bay

Kilchoman Machir Bay 3

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.

9 replies »

  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed this whisky. I liked it from that first time we tried it with Mark. I have also really enjoyed the couple of Single Cask versions that I’ve tried. When you consider that they’ve only been around since 2005, I’d say that this distillery is definitely one to keep an eye on. And if you’re serious about the Loch Gorm, I will happily split a bottle with you.


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