Whisky Advocate

Kilchoman announces first whisky release

July 21st, 2009

Many of you already knew about this. Now the distillery has released an official press release on the debut of their first whisky. Details follow.


Kilchoman Distillery, the first built on Islay for nearly 100 years, will release its eagerly anticipated inaugural single malt whisky on the 9th September 2009. Initially bottles will be allocated to 14 key malt markets worldwide as well being available from the distillery shop and via the on-line shop.

Production started in late 2005 and annual production is between 90,000 and 100,000 litres of alcohol; 30% of the spirit is distilled from barley grown and malted at the distillery and the balance comes from the Port Ellen Maltings on the island. The two malts are kept separate during distilling and Kilchoman will release two different expressions of single malt. The majority of maturation (80%) is in fresh bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace and the remaining 20% in fresh Oloroso sherry butts.

Anticipation of the release has been growing since a bottle from the first cask filled at the distillery was auctioned during Kilchoman’s open day during Feis Ile, the whisky festival in May 2009. A number of collectors and whisky enthusiasts were present for the auction and the bottle eventually sold for £5,400.  

The malt has been matured in fresh bourbon barrels and finished for six months in Oloroso sherry butts. In order to maximise flavour and texture, the single malt whisky will be bottled at 46% ABV at natural colour and non chill-filtered.

Tasting notes from Kilchoman Single Malt, 46% from Dr Jim Swan:

“Peat smoke and caramel toffee drizzled with rich fruits.

On the nose Kilchoman begins with strong peaty aromas. While many Islay malts are either wood smoke or medicinal or many variations on the theme, Kilchoman has them all. Initial peat smoke reveals an underlying clean medicinal character but rich dark fruits and light citrus lemon and orange follow on. Finally hints of creamy caramel toffees and sultanas fight their way through this complex whisky.

In the mouth this single malt is remarkably viscous and the peat smoke has to share its flavour with dark fruits, sultanas and creamy toffee in the mid palate. Kilchoman has a long finish, eventually the peat recovers, leaving a clean lingering aftertaste long after swallowing.”

The recommended retail price is £37.00 per bottle.

Anthony Wills, the founder and managing director began the project in the summer of 2001. The company is privately owned with 30 private investors. Wills has worked in the drinks industry for 32 years, firstly in the wine trade, and since moving to Scotland in 1995 he has been involved in the sales and marketing of malt whisky.

Wills commented: “the release of our first single malt is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work and we have strived to produce top quality spirit and fill into top quality wood. The reaction to the various releases of our spirit has been very encouraging and everyone connected with Kilchoman is looking forward to sharing our malt with whisky enthusiasts around the world.”

Kilchoman Distillery will celebrate the launch of the single malt by holding a party at the distillery.

10 Responses to “Kilchoman announces first whisky release”

  1. John Hansell says:

    For those of us here in the U.S., I was informed that Anthony is hoping to import this whisky to the U.S. in the Spring of 2010.

  2. Paul M says:

    Thanks John, you answered my first question.

    When will you have a review?

  3. John Hansell says:

    Paul, the whisky will be released in September and that’s when I’ll get my review sample.

  4. B Adams says:

    Any ideas on the “14 key markets” worldwide and if that includes Canada?

  5. Neil Fusillo says:

    Hmm… a three year old whisky with a price tag of £37.00. That’s… interesting. Let’s hope it’s a good three years.

  6. John Hansell says:

    I think it’s only 70cl bottles for now. I am not sure where they are going.

    Neil, yes, let’s hope.

  7. Anyone else is going to the distillery for the official launch party ?

  8. I hope you will enjoy your sample, John. So far we have been bottling three single casks of 2 years cask strength for France and they were simply young and excellent, with style and balance.

    They also produce a very special bramble liqueur based on peaty malt spirit that I simply love, I guess that you can only get it at the distillery so far if not for some special tastings.

  9. […] sample which I received on Friday. I wasted no time tasting it. I first wrote about this whisky here in July. This whisky was released in September and sold out very quickly, but maybe if you look a […]

© Copyright 2017. Whisky Advocate. All rights reserved.