So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Kilchoman Machir Bay vs Lagavulin 8 yo ‘200th Anniversary’

Young peated Islay. Kilchoman is still the newest distillery on Islay, built 2005, last time anyone tried to do so was some 120 year prior. The trend is not lost on others and you may have heard of plans for Gartbreck (which has seemed to have gone deathly quiet) and Ardnahoe, which has gotten planning approval and is set to open in 2018 near Port Askaig, ie near Caol Ila.

Kilchoman is tiny, and set in the middle of a working farm named Rockside, which provides barley of the Optic and Chalice varietals from her fields for Kilchoman’s malting floor. This barley is eventually malted to between 20-25ppm and then mixed with malt from Port Ellen maltings at 45+ ppm. Family owned and entirely produced onsite, the mantra here is barley to bottle. You might say this is rather ’boutique’ and I might be inclined to agree, adding the vibe here is far more down to earth and honest than another ’boutique’ distillery nearby overlooking Loch Indaal which is wont to make similar claims.

Tiny stills! ExploreArgyll.co.uk


Kilchoman Machir Bay 46% ~ early version 2012/2013

 Nose: Heavy peat with a maritime slant. Seaweed and touches of iodine. Salt crusted rock and sea spray. A big but rather leafy-grassy peat but also quite oven toasty and malty. Vanilla – from the wood I guess, and a sense of indistinct but round orchard fruit. Menthol cigarettes. Rather simple and doesn’t actually feel monstrous peaty at all, tends towards the cleaner end of this spectrum, and may find a more kindred spirit somewhere closer to Port Askaig maybe.

 Palate: Burst of white smoke and some disappearing peat but very quickly shows some raw esters. Raw peated malt. Yes it does feel young and slightly feinty. Starting to collapse a little. Smoked pear eau de vie. Getting rather dry and stinging with bitter vegetals. Quite a weak unsupported body past the initial burst of smoke. Acrid hot ash.

 Finish: Medium short, hot ash and acrid.


Lagavulin 8 yo ‘200th Anniversary’ 2016 48%

 Nose: Lagavulin through and through. White wine flints, churned butter, pungent herbs shredded with tire rubber and burnt in a big dirty bonfire. That said not as pungent or massive as the 12 yos (of course). Feels like Lagavulin 101. All the elements are there: Big peat, big mezcaly phenols, angry ocean, muddy shellfish, yet all this heard through a headset with master volume turned down to civil. Excellent 101 lesson this is. Also, no sherry influence as far as I can tell.

 Palate: Exactly that. Big boned and still rather blustery, it does what it suggests it would. More suggestive of salt, coffee jars and lit cigarettes than the nose. Hot and dirty phenols. Only a little simple and straightforward, but that’s to be expected here.

 Finish: Medium long, still dirty flinty and pungent. I quite like this expression as a gateway drug.

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2017 by in Kilchoman, Lagavulin and tagged , .
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