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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Kilchoman

Explore Scotland’s whisky regions!

This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way… I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone…

This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way…

I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone by now that we do enjoy a dram or two of Scotch whisky here at MoM Towers. Some who share our passion may prefer to indulge in expressions from the same region, be it the Lowlands, the Highlands, Campbeltown, Islay, the Islands or Speyside. We, however, love all of them like children and, just like every parent you’ve ever met, we can’t wait to talk your ear off about how much we do.

So, whether you prefer the peaty powerhouses typically found on Islay, the sherried and sweet often associated with Speyside, the malty, fruity whiskies you’ll regularly see in the Highlands or all the above and more, then you’ll be happy to join us on a journey that marvels at the huge range of different styles of whisky that are produced all over Scotland.

Before we start, it’s worth checking out this Drinks by the Dram Tasting Set, which contains five 30ml samples that showcase the Regions of Scotland. Now, on with our adventure!

Bladnoch 17 Year Old California Red Wine Cask Finish

Region: Lowland

We start our journey at the fabulous Bladnoch Distillery, which started up production once again in 2017 following some periods of difficulty. Since its return, the brand has created some delicious and intriguing drams, such as the 17 Year Old California Red Wine Cask Finish. Originally matured into ex-bourbon barrels, this 17 year old single malt was then finished in Californian red wine casks to create a rich, rewarding and wonderfully fruity profile.

What does it taste like?:

Dried fruit, orange marmalade, coffee, cherries, toffee, vanilla, liquorice, shortbread, black pepper and sweet oak.

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old

Region: Lowland

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old is not only the flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery, but it makes for a fine introduction to all things Lowland Scotch. A creamy, sweet and smooth expression that’s ever-popular and incredibly versatile, it’s no surprise this expression was named the winner of the Best Lowland Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards in 2016.

What does it taste like?:

Light and aromatic with hints of barley malt, almonds, hazelnuts, stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels and manuka honey/beeswax.

Springbank 10 Year Old

Region: Campbeltown

We journey now to Campbeltown and its famed Springbank distillery, which is known for its distinctive, powerful whiskies and loyal following of enthusiastic, passionate fans. The brand’s 10 Year Old expression, a blend of both bourbon and sherry matured whiskies, is the kind of dram that makes you understand why. Quite simply a sublime introduction for those not familiar with the distillery or the Campbeltown region in general.

What does it taste like?:

Oaked aridity, rich peat, earthen rootiness, exotic fruits, salinity, cereal sweetness, dark nuttiness and whirling smoke.

The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection

Region: Speyside

We venture now to arguably the most famous and certainly most productive of all Scotch whisky regions: Speyside! Glenrothes has been providing great whisky in this part of the world since 1878, but it’s only recently eschewed its famous vintages to make for age statements. This 12 year old single malt, released as part of the Soleo Collection, is one such example and you’ll find that this teaming with the kind of sherried deliciousness people love from a Speyside Scotch.

What does it taste like?:

Floral vanilla, galia melon, shortbread cookies, honey, banana, white chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon.

Strathisla 12 Year Old

Region: Speyside

This fruity, floral and sherry-rich single malt was distilled at Strathisla, which is not only the oldest continuously operating distillery in Scotland, but also one of the most beautiful. It’s currently owned by Chivas Brothers and much of the whisky is used for its blends, however, given its significance to Scotch whisky and the brand, it’s little surprise Chivas Brothers decided to honour the distillery with its own expression.

What does it taste like?:

Soft oak, candied peel, Danish pastries, cooked apple, malt, sultanas, cinnamon and allspice.

Caol Ila 2004 (bottled 2016) Moscatel Cask Finish – Distillers Edition

Region: Islay

We now find ourselves on the Isle of Islay, which is pretty much the closest we’ve got to a holy land for us Scotch whisky fans (don’t forget to make your pilgrimage for Feis Ile 2019 from 24 May-1 June). We know that some of you will have immediately scrolled when you saw this blog for the first thing that could be classed as Islay awesomeness in a bottle. Good thing you did, as the Caol Ila Distillers Edition bottlings are not to be missed. This edition is the 2004 vintage Distillers Edition, which was bottled in 2016 after it was finished for a period in a Moscatel cask. Expect smoke, expect sweetness and most of all, expect a truly sublime Scotch.

What does it taste like?:

Honey, subtly floral malt, a crash of sea spray, peat smoke, golden syrup, orange oil, jasmine tea, brown sugar, red grapes, cinnamon, cassia and a few touches of spearmint.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Region: Islay

We’re now at Islay’s farm distillery Kilchoman for a delicious dram of Machir Bay, the flagship of the Kilchoman range. Named after the scenic beach on Islay, this excellent single malt Scotch whisky that was matured in both bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and boasts a wonderful balance of peat, sweetness and zesty citrus. One to savour.

What does it taste like?:

Citrus zests, crumbly vanilla biscuits, elegant peat smoke, tropical fruit, dried raisin and cracked black pepper.

Deanston 18 Year Old

Region: Highland

Our next stop is the wonderful Highland region for a delightful dram of Deanston. All of the distillery’s whisky is distilled with Scottish-grown barley and the 18 Year Old expression served its finishing period in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks. With just a hint of drying smoke and plenty of creamy, sweet characteristics, Deanston 18 Year Old is a fine expression that should not be overlooked.

What does it taste like?:

Earthy vanilla, Golden Grahams, honeydew melon, flint, lemon cheesecake, orange boiled sweets, oily walnut, stem ginger and beeswax.

Highland Park Valknut

Region: Island

The Islands, which are often classed as being part of the Highlands, are home to some classic names like Talisker, Tobermory and, of course, Highland Park, the latter of which is our final stop. It’s located on the island of Orkney, where you’ll find puffins, plenty of great Scotch and also puffins (did I mention Orkney has puffins, guys?). The brand’s expression Valknut is part of the Viking Legend series and features a small portion of Orkney-grown Tartan barley. This is a more smoky customer than you may be used to from Highland Park, but it’s still got plenty of that typical rich, succulent profile you’ve come to love from Scotland’s most northerly distillery.

What does it taste like?:

Warming peat smoke, fresh vanilla, thyme honey, toasted barley, fennel seed, flamed orange peel, gingerbread, BBQ char, nutmeg and sandalwood.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #12: Kilchoman Machir Bay Single Malt

Time to take a peek behind the 12th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar where you will find a dram from Islay’s youngest distillery. . ….

Time to take a peek behind the 12th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar where you will find a dram from Islay’s youngest distillery. . .

If you like a bit of elegant smokiness (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then you’ll love this next dram. It comes from Kilchoman, the first new distillery built on Islay in more than 120 years (another new distillery Ardnahoe, is just about to start production). It was founded in 2005 by Anthony Wills and family, and is based at Rockside Farm not far from Bruichladdich. The team produces a “barley to bottle” single malt whisky called 100% Islay where the entire process from the growing of the barley to malting, maturing and bottling, is carried out on the farm. Kilchoman also distills whiskies from bought-in malted barley like its bestseller, Machir Bay, our dram of the day.

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WATCH: Anthony Wills on Kilchoman distillery expansion!

During Fèis Ìle 2018, we caught up with Anthony Wills, founder of Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, who shared with us plans to double the capacity of the farm distillery. It’s almost…

During Fèis Ìle 2018, we caught up with Anthony Wills, founder of Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, who shared with us plans to double the capacity of the farm distillery.

It’s almost the perfect problem. You work hard to produce something incredible, people love it, and then you can’t physically make enough to meet the demand. It’s a paradox not unfamiliar to the whisky industry, but for Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, which has always been a small-volume farm producer, it represents something of a dilemma.

When Anthony Wills first filled a cask back in 2005, it seemed almost impossible that he’d need to double his stillhouse in a such a short period of time. Yet the signature Kilchoman smoke paired with its strong island provenance has proved an alluring combination and whisky fans can’t get enough of the island drams.

Here Kilchoman distillery founder Wills chats us through the dilemma and shares details of the project to double capacity at the site…

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The inaugural MoM Fèis Ìle Awards are here!

There were drams, live bands galore (often the same one), much merriment and more epic dogs than you could even try to count. Yes, folks – Fèis Ìle happened. And…

There were drams, live bands galore (often the same one), much merriment and more epic dogs than you could even try to count. Yes, folks – Fèis Ìle happened. And now, partly as an excuse to relive the best bits, partly to give mega kudos to the star performers, behold: we present the entirely-not-scientific-at-all, totally-subjective-in-every-way MoM Fèis Ìle Awards 2018!

Well. We’ve just about sort-of recovered. Fèis Ìle 2018 was an absolute riot of whisky geekery, drams of much deliciousness, and of course, incredible, incredible people. We had a proper blast on Islay, and we’re still wading through the reams of content, video footage, and social posts from the week at the pinnacle of the whisky calendar.

And as we reminisced all the action, debating heatedly at MoM HQ as to which tip-top tour was the most tremendous and which masterclass was most masterful, it suddenly became clear: The MoM Fèis Ìle Awards should be a thing!

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Fèis Ìle 2018 Day Six: Kilchoman & Jura

Well, it couldn’t have lasted forever. Perhaps we jinxed it. Either way, this morning dawned decidedly overcast. But that didn’t stop us having an absolute blast at both Kilchoman and…

Well, it couldn’t have lasted forever. Perhaps we jinxed it. Either way, this morning dawned decidedly overcast. But that didn’t stop us having an absolute blast at both Kilchoman and Jura’s open days!

After just a couple of drams the night before, this morning’s 7am alarm came around all too quickly. The sun was not shining and the results of a hideous midge incident from the evening before were clear for all to see (note: do NOT leave windows open and lights on at night on Islay. We’ve got the bites and the alarming pile of carcasses to prove it). But despite the challenges (Team MoM is short on breezy morning folk), we were super keen for the day ahead. There were not one but TWO distillery days afoot!

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We’re going to Fèis Ìle 2018!

Drum roll please, folks… after too-long a hiatus we are packing our bags and heading to Fèis Ìle 2018! Good folks of whiskydom, we have news. After a four-year break…

Drum roll please, folks… after too-long a hiatus we are packing our bags and heading to Fèis Ìle 2018!

Good folks of whiskydom, we have news. After a four-year break (yes, and that parking, ahem, incident) we are returning to Islay for the dramming extravaganza that is Fèis Ìle. Team MoM is making final preparations for a voyage to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt! And we have many a treat in store for you whether you are likewise heading for the island or not…

From this Saturday (26 May) to the following one (3 June) we will be busily heading to the official distillery days, plus a selection of rather marvellous additional locations to keep us on our toes. And… the freebies are back!

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Whisky Advent 2017 Day #20: Kilchoman Sanaig

With only four days left of #WhiskyAdvent, Drinks by the Dram has delivered another absolutely smashing dram. Behind window #20 of its Whisky Advent Calendar is… We’ve approached that time,…

With only four days left of #WhiskyAdvent, Drinks by the Dram has delivered another absolutely smashing dram. Behind window #20 of its Whisky Advent Calendar is…

We’ve approached that time, people. You know what I mean.

The time when your presents should be wrapped under a glowing tree. The time when your stockings should be hung and your cards all sent out. And the time when your Christmas pudding should be sitting proud in an ‘appropriate’ amount of brandy. It’s day #20 people, and to those for whom this is all true…

… you can rest easy and help yourself to a celebratory dram!* What tempting treat offers such rewarding libation on the other side of window #20? It’s Kilchoman Sanaig!

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Father’s Day Tasting Sets!

Pre-Order Drinks by the Dram’s new Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Sets now! Drinks by the Dram have released two new whisky tasting sets especially for Father’s Day 2016: The Father’s…

Drinks by the Dram Father's Day

Pre-Order Drinks by the Dram’s new Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Sets now!

Drinks by the Dram have released two new whisky tasting sets especially for Father’s Day 2016: The Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Set and The Father’s Day Deluxe Whisky Tasting Set! Both of these fantastic gifts are now available for Pre-Order, despatching early next week.

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Burns Night: Traditional vs. Untraditional

So. Burns Night. That’s next week. Burns Suppers date back to 1801, with the first one being held by friends of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns. They’ve continued ever…

Robert Burns

So. Burns Night. That’s next week. Burns Suppers date back to 1801, with the first one being held by friends of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns. They’ve continued ever since, with people around the world enjoying haggis, poetry and whisky on the 25th of January. When something happens for over 200 years, sometimes people think about trying to do something a bit untraditional – like the year that Monkey Shoulder hosted a Burns night celebrating Montgomery Burns and Jake wrote a blog post mostly about a completely different TV show character.

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Whisky Advent Day 6: Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 Release

As we approach the end of the first week of Drinks by the Dram’s #WhiskyAdvent, it feels like it may be time for a peated single malt Scotch whisky. Something…

Whisky Advent Calendar

As we approach the end of the first week of Drinks by the Dram’s #WhiskyAdvent, it feels like it may be time for a peated single malt Scotch whisky. Something from Islay, perhaps? Right on cue, behind window six of The Whisky Advent Calendar we find a delicious Kilchoman!

This 2014 release is a vatting of 5 and 6 year old whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry butts, the last of the ‘work in progress’ Machir Bay releases, as it were, which have been a fantastic insight as to how the spirit from Islay’s youngest distillery has been developing. (Hint: it’s been going pretty well!) Machir Bay has now become both a continuous release and their core expression, with this December marking the 10th anniversary of spirit first running from the stills.

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