A few interesting things that I should have said to go with my Kilchoman vlog...
The labelling on the 100% Islay is not totally clear when you are looking for this dram on-line. The Whisky Exchange currently have 2 releases on their website, but I think mine is not amongst them, having been distilled in 2010 and bottled in 2017. We could say then that it is 7yo but there could be a little older whisky vatted into it too, although the labelling suggests not. However, all the expressions of ‘editions’ of this whisky strive for the same characteristics of a richly rounded, sweet, fruity and zesty spirit with vanilla notes underpinned with peat: the basic concept in my mind of a Kilchoman whisky.
The farm itself where Kilchoman is made is a stone’s throw from Machir Bay, perhaps Islay’s most beautiful beach. The beach gives its name to the most widely available of Kilchoman’s expressions - Machir Bay was ceretainly part of the slightly edgy whisky selection in M&S last time I looked.
Although I refer repeatedly to 100% Islay barley - as indeed it is - the 100% Islay moniker also apples to 100% Islay production as the barley is estate grown and malted on site. The bottling also takes place in the same farm complex, which is becoming more and more unusual except in small scale productions.
Now to the smoke or peat dilemma: are they the same? In my mind they are interchangeable but that may not be so for real experts. It’s something that I shall investigate with the Whisky Glitterati that I have access to but, for now, please assume that I mean peat when I say smoke and vice versa.
One of the great things about craft distilleries like Kilchoman is the willingness of those involved to help others starting out on the adventure of whisky production. Shortly after our visit to Islay we were with the team at Ardnamurchan Distillery and hearing how much Anthony Wills of Kilchoman had helped them at the start of their project. As a great believer in communities and collaborative working I rejoice on hearing such things.
The Norlan glass was given to me by my friends at Wineware, who supply just about any glass you could want and also specialise in cellarage and storage. It is not crystal - we have made that clear on the vlog - but it is hand-blown and the effect that it has on whiskies is quite extraordinary. Do follow the link to read more about it - and the subsequent release of the black edition. Given Master Distiller Jim McEwan’s involvement in the project it is obvious that this is a glass of substance and consequence. I would recommend whisky enthusiasts to have one or two to hand when tasting.
Finally, that delicious Islay whisky chocolate cigar from Rococo. You may be lucky to find one in a Rococo shop but they do sell out quickly. You can, however, ask to be notified when they are back in stock on their website. It is a stonkingly good example of chocolate genius with pistachios, orange peel and star anise. Although I am not usually a fan of cocoa nibs as they can be very grainy, the soaking of them in Islay whisky makes them easier to blend with the other delicious ingedients in this taste of luxury - and you’ll have seen how well it goes with the Kilchoman 100% Islay in my vlog!
For more fun and information about whisky and Islay contact Wild & Magic Islay. Rachel MacNeill is a powerhouse of knowledge, enthusiasm and fun about all things whisky and Islay, and runs a whisky school in the autumn.