Kilchoman distillery

Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

These days 25% of its barley requirements come from Islay (mostly from fields around the distillery). It has a small malting floor and kiln which produces a medium-peated malt - the heavily peated with which it is mixed comes from Port Ellen. Inside the distillery, fermentation is long - helping to create fruitiness to balance the shoreline/shellfish like phenolics, while an enlightened (and pricey) wood policy has seen a high percent of first-fill ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks being used. The result is that Kilchoman has hit the start of its mature period at a remarkably young age.    

  • Region
    Islay
  • Production type
    Single malt
    Unaged spirits
  • Distillery Status
    Working

Kilchoman History

The location of Kilchoman on Islay’s west coast has some historical resonance. It was in this parish that the MacBeatha/Beaton family settled when they came across in 1300 from what is now Co. Antrim. They were doctors (a Beaton was the hereditary physician to the kings of Scotland for hundreds of years) who translated medical texts about distillation from Latin into Gaelic.  There is therefore a theory (albeit unproven) that Islay was the first place where distillation took place in Scotland - and that Kilchoman parish was where it occurred.

It wasn’t so much this which caused Anthony Wills to build his farm distillery here in 2005 - it was more the fact that there was a spare steading at Rockside farm available. In building Kilchoman, the Wills family has brought farm distilling back to Islay.

Now surrounded by barley fields, the distillery has expanded once (in 2007) built new warehouses and in 2010 hired a hugely experienced manager in John MacLellan who had spent many years at the helm of Bunnahabhain. The history may be short, but the long-term vision is very much in evidence. 

Timeline

  • 2002 Planning begins on a new distillery at Rockside Farm on Islay
  • 2005 Production starts at Kilchoman
  • 2006 Fire breaks out in the kiln, forcing production to halt for a few weeks, although maltings are forced to cease for six months
  • 2007 Two new washbacks are installed
  • 2009 Kilchoman releases its first single malt, a 3-year-old
  • 2010 John MacLellan joins the team as distillery manager
  • 2011 Kilchoman 100% Islay, made using ingredients sourced from the island, is launched
  • 2012 The distillery's first core release, Machir Bay, is launched
  • 2013 Kilchoman Loch Gorm is introduced
  • 2014 Kilchoman Coull Point is released as a duty free exclusive

Kilchoman Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    0.125
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
    70-110hrs
  • Filling Strength i
    63.5%
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    1.2
  • Heat Source i
    Steam
  • Malt Specification i
    Diageo malt 50ppm, own malt 10-25ppm
  • Malt Supplier i
    Diageo and own maltings
  • Mash Tun Material i
    Copper domed, stainless steel
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Semi Lauter
  • New-make Strength i
    69.7-70.2%
  • Single Malt Percentage i
    100%
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
    1,600
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Onion shape with boil ball in neck
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
    2,070
  • Stills i
    2
  • Warehousing i
    Currently at Kilchoman, Bruichladdich, Bowmore and Port Ellen. Mostly dunnage
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
    3,000
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Classic Onion
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
    3,230
  • Washback Charge (l) i
    6,000
  • Washback Size (l) i
    8,000
  • Washback Type i
    Stainless steel
  • Washbacks i
    4
  • Water Source i
    Surface water collected in small dam close to distillery
  • Wort Clarity i
    Good
  • Yeast Type i
    Mauri

Owner

Current owner

Contact

Address
Kilchoman Distillery
Rockside Farm
Bruichladdich
Isle of Islay
Argyll
PA49 7UT
United Kingdom
Website
Visit Website
Phone
+44 1496 850011
Visitor Opening Hours
Monday
10am to 5pm
Tuesday
10am to 5pm
Wednesday
10am to 5pm
Thursday
10am to 5pm
Friday
10am to 5pm
Saturday
10am to 5pm (Apr-Nov)
Sunday
10am to 5pm (Apr-Nov)

Map

See also

  • Ardbeg Ardbeg Ardbeg Distillery & brand

    Ardbeg

    Ardbeg is one of Islay's sweetest malts.

  • Lagavulin Lagavulin Lagavulin Distillery & brand

    Lagavulin

    Diageo's Islay distillery produces a smoky, coastal malt, and was once home to the famed Malt Mill.

  • Bowmore Bowmore Bowmore Distillery & brand

    Bowmore

    A medium-peated Islay whisky.

  • Bunnahabhain Bunnahabhain Bunnahabhain Distillery & brand

    Bunnahabhain

    A substantial Victorian distillery.

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