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The picturesque Kilchoman Distillery sits nestled amongst the traditional buildings of Rockside Farm on the north-west coast of Islay. Famous as Islay’s Farm Distillery, our barley fields stretch west, sheltered beneath the Cnoc Dubh cliffs, to the shores of Machir Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Kilchoman Distillery is unique in many ways, most notably for our 100% Islay range, Islay’s only Single Farm Single Malt – from barley to bottle.

MORE ABOUT OUR DISTILLERY

HARVEST

Stage 1 DAYS 1-5

The parish of Kilchoman is home to some of Islay’s most fertile ground.  It is here, in the fields surrounding the distillery, where we grow 200 tons of barley each year. Planting in Spring once Islay’s 50,000 geese have migrated, our farm team care for the barley over the summer months before harvesting in early September. Harvest time represents the start of the whisky-making process which sees our Kilchoman grown barley malted, distilled, matured and bottled here at the distillery, eventually becoming Islay’s only Single Farm Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 1130 days later.

Malting

Stage 2 DAYS 6-12

Kilchoman is one of Scotland’s handful of distilleries still practicing traditional floor malting, a process which almost all distilleries outsourced with the onset of commercial distilling. The process involves soaking the barley in water before it is laid on a concrete floor and regularly turned by hand. This triggers the barley to germinate, allowing for the conversion of starch to fermentable sugars and alcohol. The labour intensive nature of floor malting is a significant factor in its demise, though it remains at the heart of our 100% Islay philosophy.

Peating

Stage 3 DAYS 13-14

Cut from Islay’s many ocean-soaked peat bogs and used to smoke the germinating barley, the unique make-up of Islay peat adds layers of rich, maritime smoky character to the whisky. During the peating process the barley absorbs the distinct Islay peat character, adding layers of complexity to the whisky once distilled and matured. After peating and drying the malted barley is left to rest for a minimum of two weeks ahead of milling and mashing.

Mashing

Stage 4 DAY 28

After peating the barley is sat resting in the malt bins for around two weeks before making its journey to the still house for the next stage. Our custom built 1.2 ton mash tun is put to work on a daily basis with a careful balance of water temperature and slowly turning rakes working to extract fermentable sugars from the crushed barley grains. This liquid, worts, is then drained off to form the basis of the Kilchoman spirit, leaving behind the spent grain known as draff which is used to feed our herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle.

Fermenting

Stage 5 DAYS 29-33

Once the sweet, malty and slightly smoky worts is drained from the mash tun, distiller’s yeast is added to trigger fermentation and the creation of alcohol. Our fermentation is never rushed, at nearly double the industry standard, our 85 hour fermentation allows for the development of complex esters and the build up of lactic acid which produce creamy, buttery and particularly fruity notes. This long fermentation time is vital in creating the complex and flavourful spirit unique to Kilchoman.

Distilling

Stage 6 DAY 34

Our stills, the smallest on Islay, create unmatched purity of spirit. Their distinct size and shape along with our spirit still reflux bulb create unparalleled levels of copper contact, allowing for the marriage of earthy, maritime peat smoke and the light, clean floral citrus which characterises Kilchoman single malt. Like with all of the stages of production at Kilchoman, our stills are charged and carefully controlled by hand, allowing the stillman to adapt to the natural variations of each distillation run.

Maturing

Stage 7 DAY 35 - MINIMUM 1130 DAYS

Our single malt is matured in a combination of cask types sourced from the finest producers around the world. Each barrel contributes a unique character and colour to balance with Kilchoman’s classic peat smoke and floral sweetness. Our two main cask types, bourbon barrels and sherry butts, are sourced directly from the world renowned Buffalo Trace distillery in USA and Bodega Miguel Martin in Spain. As well as bourbon and sherry casks we also fill a number of speciality casks including Sauternes, Red Wine, Rum, Port, Madeira and Cognac casks as well as various secretive experimental casks.

Bottling

Stage 8

Our range of single malts are all bottled on site at the distillery, eventually completing journey from barley to bottle. We are very proud to have every stage of production at Kilchoman, from barley growing in the fields around the distillery to bottling on site. Kilchoman single malts are a distillation of people, passion and place.

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MACHIR BAY

Machir Bay, named after the isle of Islay’s most spectacular beach, is a vatting of Kilchoman whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. The high proportion of bourbon barrels creating a distinct balance of classic Islay character and fresh floral complexity.

SANAIG

Sanaig, named after an inlet on Islay’s rugged Atlantic cost, is a vatting of Kilchoman whisky matured in both sherry and bourbon barrels. The high proportion of oloroso sherry casks creating a unique balance of dried fruits, dark chocolate and rich peat smoke.

DISCOVER OUR WHISKIES

MACHIR BAY

Machir Bay, named after the isle of Islay’s most spectacular beach, is a vatting of Kilchoman whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. The high proportion of bourbon barrels creating a distinct balance of classic Islay character and fresh floral complexity.

SANAIG

Sanaig, named after an inlet on Islay’s rugged Atlantic cost, is a vatting of Kilchoman whisky matured in both sherry and bourbon barrels. The high proportion of oloroso sherry casks creating a unique balance of dried fruits, dark chocolate and rich peat smoke.

KILCHOMAN CLUB

Join the Club and be part of the Kilchoman community with regular updates from us on the latest news and releases. Club members are also entitled to exclusive discounts, distillery tours and tastings as well as our annual members only Club release

“The club is our way of offering something extra to the loyal friends of Kilchoman. The club members are usually familiar with our core range of whiskies so I always try and choose something different and special for our annual club release.”

anthony-wills-signature
ANTHONY WILLS, KILCHOMAN FOUNDER
JOIN THE KILCHOMAN CLUB