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More Kilchoman Talk

We had a great discussion a few days back about Kilchoman and what they're doing.  Now they've just announced this and I have to say I'm a bit excited.  Self-sustained whisky is NOT easy, therefore why every distiller on Islay gets their malted barley from the same place - Port Ellen - and that barley is NOT grown on Islay.  This all-Islay bottling is very similar to what Springbank does every now and they with their Local Barley series.  Those bottles have become mega-collectable and they send the right message to the food/booze community.  However, we've become spoiled in that mass-production and homogenization of the farming process has kept down whisky costs for decades.  Doing it on your own takes money and you have to re-coup expenses.  My question to all of you is: are you willing to pay more for a distillery that does everything locally?  Is it worth the extra cash? We do it at the Farmer's market all the time, so why not with whisky? Here are the details and should be here later this year:


Kilchoman, Islay’s Farm Distillery, is proud to announce the release of its first single malt produced from barley, grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at the distillery.

It has been matured for 3 years in first fill bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Kentucky, USA and is lightly peated (10 to 20ppm of phenols) and bottled at 50% alcohol strength

Colour :         Light Golden

Nose:           Soft peaty aromas and a blend of citrus, lemon and pear drops

Palate:          An initial sweetness is followed by soft peat smoke and then the mixed fruits

Finish:           Long and clean with a lovely sweet aftertaste.

Kilchoman ‘100% Islay’ is available from twenty six specialist whisky retailers in the UK at a retail price of £69.00 per bottle and twenty nine markets worldwide. 11,300 bottles have been released worldwide.

There is also a special edition, available only at the distillery, of 1060 bottles at cask strength 61.3% ABV. Presented in a hand crafted American white oak presentation box, this edition at £149.00 is available only from the distillery.

For more information visit

Anthony Wills, Managing Director, commented:  “Being able to release a single malt produced from raw materials sourced locally was what the Kilchoman project was all about and I’m delighted to be able to share this exceptional young aged single malt with whisky enthusiasts around the world”.

-David Driscoll

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Reader Comments (8)

This relates to both recent Kilchoman posts. I would like to try the Kilchoman, but at this price point, I will continue to pass. There are many other good whiskies out there at this price or less than I either already know about or would try before this. It's hard for me to get excited about a premium priced three year old. At the same time, I hope they succeed. It's good to see new distillers. I hope to try Daftmill in a few years. I also give Springbank a lot of credibility for their localness.

The reason we buy food from a farmer's market is that we know that pesticides and other chemicals are not used. I don't have the same level of concern with distilled spirits. Thanks for asking. Keep up the good work.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKAS


Thanks for chiming in!

While the Kilchoman is expensive, look at other 3 year olds, like our McCarthy Oregon single barrel, that is also expensive, but over-achieves in every way (check out this independent review -'s-Single-Barrel-K26XL). Springbank local barley whiskies would likely cost the same, relative to age i.e. $200+ for a 10-12 year so it's not like they're overpriced. Also have to add that I don't buy food from the farmer's market only because of pesticides or chemicals, but rather so that my money goes directly to farmer. I could buy the same produce at Whole Foods but I have no idea where it comes from. I think it comes down to the idea of whisky and what you want it to be. I could buy Talisker 18 for less and it's delicious, but it isn't always just about taste. I like to go to the Farmer's Market because my money goes to support the farmers directly, whereas if I go to Whole Foods then they take their cut. When I buy Talisker 18, my money goes to Diageo and their continued monopolization of the whisky market. It's a touchy subject that really gets into a person's personal politics I think.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

I did the "Distillery Experience" at Kilchoman couple years back, so I have a little insight into their home grown barley. Unfortunately (and Kilchoman will admit this as well), they can't get a consistent malt on their own malt floor, so the yields are way off from commercially available malt from Port Ellen and will likely have some "green" characteristics to it. I think it will be interesting, and I have a personal interest in it since some of the whisky I made when I was there might be in these bottles! That said, I think it will be inferior to their other releases.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJmoneymadness

Jmoney - Springbank has the same issue and they think that's why their whisky is a bit "chewier" than others. If that happens with Kilchoman then sign me up.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

"My question to all of you is: are you willing to pay more for a distillery that does everything locally?"-- Yes, but not for a three-year-old whisky.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRN

Sort of a side note - but I believe that all distilleries on Islay and Jura as of a certain year (late '80s?) committed to buy malt from Port Ellen Maltings.

I don't know the whole story, but I believe it was a condition of leaving the plant on the island - even the non-Diageo distilleries contracted to be perpetual customers of Port Ellen. Clearly that's not for all their malt - Port Ellen is not always able to perfectly meet demand, so some has come from other maltings off-Islay, Laphroaig still malts some (and was Bruichladdich's local barley malted on-site or at Port Ellen?).

RE: Kilchoman. I agree on the price being too high. Whether it's somehow intrinsically priced correctly is far less relevant to me than what I can get comparatively. Lagavulin 16, even with its filtering and coloring, just demolishes any Kilchoman I've tried to date.

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEthan Prater

Bruichladdich does not contract with Port Ellen and has all it's barley malted off island, even the stuff that's grown on Islay. Bowmore & Laphroaig both make use of their malt floors but this barley only represents a tiny portion of there production and get most of their malt from Port Ellen along with every other distillery on the island with the obvious exceptions. I know that Mickey Head expressed a desire to eventually reopen the malt floors at Ardbeg, but it seemed mostly like a pipe dream.

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid OG

But, Did you know that the fast food and casual dining restaurants you eat in every day have secret menu items? A select few are in on the secret and now you are a part of this culinary elite. We aren't just talking about the barely secret In-N-Out Burger "hold the bread kmfqhi kmfqhi - mulberry factory.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterobncod obncod

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