Kilchoman Machir Bay (70cl, 46%)


The Kilchoman distillery (pronounced Kil-ho-man) is a distillery that produces single malt Scotch whisky on Islay. The distillery is situated on the western side of Islay, near the small settlement of Kilchoman. The distillery began production in June 2005, and was the first to be built on the island of Islay in 124 years. The distillery uses barley grown on site at Rockside Farm and malted at the distillery, as well as malt from the Port Ellen maltings and releases separate bottlings depending on the source of the grain.It is one of only six Scottish distilleries still doing traditional floor-maltings, and will be unique in having all parts of the process – growing barley, malting, distilling, maturing and bottling – carried out on Islay.


The distillery first filled casks on 14 December 2005 and the distillery began bottling 3-year-old single malt in September 2009. Kilchoman also intends to release 5, 8, 10 and 12-year-old bottlings. The first official Kilchoman, the “Inaugural release” was released in 2009 and the first 100% Islay whisky released in 2011. The whisky produced by the Port Ellen maltings are peated to the same levels as Ardbeg, while the malt peated on their own floor maltings will be approximately 25 ppm.


Machir Bay is a vatting of four and five year old whisky matured in first fill bourbon casks, married and then finished in Oloroso sherry butts for four weeks before bottling in early March 2013 This edition is described below

The whisky was poured in to a Glencairn glass, a half teaspoon of water was added to this dram to compensate for its relative youthfulness and it was left to develop for ten minutes. The colour was gold.  On rolling around the glass a curtain is left on the side of the glass with medium length legs sliding down the inside.

The nose has huge hits of citrus and dried fruit intermingling with vanilla cream. Layers of fresh peat smoke strengthen as the nose develops.  Very pleasant and surprisingly citrusy

The whisky is full bodied and heavy with flavour. Initial bursts of vanilla dried fruit and demerara sugar combine with the fresh warm smoke. This whisky is exceedingly well balanced and no one flavour dominates. Gentle sweetness and a slight bitterness becoming drier with a coastal feel in the mouth.

The finish is long and drying with initial vanilla and stewed fruits to the fore going to sweet peat smoke. A little oak bitterness appears!! Very smooth !!

Machir Bay is an extremely well made offering which has been bottled at 46% giving it added complexity and flavour. What makes this whisky stand out is the balance !! There is no one flavour overpowering any other thus enabling the senses to all that is contained in the whisky.

I cannot recommend this edition enough !! Well done Kilchoman !!



Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old (70cl, 46.3%)




Deriving from the Gaelic for ‘mouth of the river’, Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and brothers James and William Greenless. A very smooth, easy-drinking Islay malt, Bunnahabhain (pronounced ‘BOO-na-HAven’) closed and reopened twice during the twentieth century and eventually production was limited to a mere few weeks annually following Edrington’s 1999 acquisition of previous owners Highland Distillers.

In 2003, Edrington sold Bunnahabhain to Burn Stewart Distilleries for £10 million. Included in this deal was the popular blend Black Bottle, whose contents feature a quantity of spirit from every distillery on Islay. Today, production stands at 2.5million litres a year. Of this, 21,000 casks are kept at the distillery for maturation and the resultant whisky will be used for the Black Bottle blend and for bottling as Bunnahabhain single malt. The rest of the outturn is sent for maturation elsewhere. In relative solitude, Bunnahabhain is the Northern-most Islay distillery. It sits in a large bay to the North East of the isle, drawing its water from the Margadale Spring.

A giant leap forward for Bunnahabhain 12yo, this edition was launched in summer 2010 with a jump in strength to 46.3% and a declaration of no chill-filtration and no added colouring. Enormous credit goes to Burn Stewart his faith in his craft for this offeringbunnahabhain-12-year-old-whisky

The whisky was poured in to a Glencairn glass, no water was added to this dram but it was left to develop for ten minutes. The colour was  gold with a slightly oily look on rolling around the glass. A curtain is left on the side of the glass with medium length legs sliding down the inside of the glass.

The nose is soft and fresh with with notes of mint and cut grass. This is followed by notes of the sea  . As the nose develops the notes of sweet sherry and sultanas  come forward more intensely with hits of malt. Subtle and complex

The taste is  very smooth, whith a overtone of sweet sherry. Like the nose it is soft and complex with hints of hazlenuts and malt mingling in with dried fruit and a little peat smoke. The location of the distillery no doubt contributes to the coastal feel in the mouth.

There is feeling of soft gentle seabreeze as one  tastes this whisky

The finish is long and sherried  going to dried fruit and malt. It reminds me of grandmothers fruit cake!!. A touch of brine appears. Very smooth

As an Islay whisky Bunnahabhain can come as a surprise to many. Athough coming from Islay this offering  is not as peaty or smokey as other distillery offerings from the island. Bearing that in mind it is an excellent extremely well balanced offering which has been bottled at 46% giving it added complexity and flavour