Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Type: Single malt
Origin: Islay, Scotland
Kilchoman is a relatively new distillery, at least by Scotch standards. The distillery was founded in 2005, and it was the first new distillery to be built on the isle of Islay in over 120 years. The distillery’s ‘regular’ single malt was named after “Machir Bay”, which is located about half a mile from the distillery.
The 2014 release of the Kilchoman Machir Bay is a vatting of five and six year old single malt, which have matured in ex-bourbon barrels and oloroso sherry buts.
Whichever way you cut it, the Kilchoman Machir Bay is young peated single malt whisky. Kilchoman are up front about this, by clearly disclosing the age of the whiskies that comprise the whisky. Young peated whisky can have its benefits for peat lovers, because as a whisky ages in oak the peat aromas and flavours develop, mellow and gradually fade over the years.
The nose offers a bouquet of peat-reek, lemon, pepper, caramel and mild vanilla. On the palate the taste of the oloroso wood is more noticeable, particularly in the finish. Find apple, mint confectionery, vanilla, caramel and pepper beneath a top-layer of sea salt and peat smoke. The taste of raisin, hazelnuts and mocha develop into the finish, as the oloroso wood emerges amidst the plumes of smoke.
While Kilchoman Machir Bay is a balanced and drinkable single malt with youthful peat-reek, the superficiality of its oak driven character leaves much to be desired. But for those wanting simple peat smoke without depth of oak character, this whisky just might hit the spot.