Opened in 2005, Kilchoman Distillery was the first distillery to be built on Islay since Bunnahabhain in 1883. As a relatively young distillery, Kilchoman released their first single malt in 2009 (the 3-year-old Inaugural Release). In 2015 Kilchoman Distillery became fully integrated as a Farm Distillery, with the acquisition of neighbouring Rockside Farm. Thirty per cent of Kilchoman Distillery's barley is grown on Rockside Farm and goes into producing their 100% Islay Barley Whisky.
A visit to Kilchoman Distillery provides an excellent opportunity to visit one of the few Farm Distilleries in Scotland.
How to Pronounce Kilchoman
Non-chill filtered and natural coloured (no E150a), Kilchoman's core range consists of:
- Kilchoman Machir Bay Whisky : matured in both bourbon and sherry casks, with a mostly bourbon flavour profile.
- Kilchoman Sanaig Whisky : matured in both bourbon and sherry casks, with a mostly sherry flavour profile.
Both of these whiskies are available in a handy gift pack.
Kilchoman Distillery was awarded a Gold and Silver medallion from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019; Sanaig won Gold for "being an exceptional spirit that is near the pinnacle of achievement and sets the standard for its category", and Machir Bay was awarded Silver for being "an outstanding spirit that shows refinement, finesse, and complexity as well as being amongst the best examples of its category".
Kilchoman whisky is not as widely distributed as some of the other Islay whiskies - if you're in Australia for instance, have a look at Nicks.com.au as they have an excellent range available.
The 2014 Loch Gorm has a "mature arrival for such a young whisky" but not a lot of complexity. Ralfy recommends adding at least 1/2 a teaspoon of water (he adds one) which results in a dram that is "still spirity but extended now, bigger, more voluminous, more complex ... then latterly get a little bit of brown sugar, sultana, vanilla, and additional honey coming through from the cask".
Where is Kilchoman Distillery?
Kilchoman Distillery is on the west coast of Islay, Scotland, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) from Bowmore, and 19.8 miles (31.9km) from the Port Ellen Ferry Terminal.
Kilchoman Distillery Tours, Pricing & Bookings
The visitor centre and cafe are open 7 days year round from 9.45am – 5pm. Tours are available 7 days (Monday to Sunday) during summer months, Sunday to Friday from 1st September to 31st October, and Monday to Friday only from 1st November.
Classic Distillery Tours run at 10:00 am and 1:30pm , costs £10 per person over 18 years and £5 per child aged 8 to 17. The Classic Tour takes approximately 1 hour and includes background information on the distillery as well as an explanation of the complete whisky making process that you will see as you move through the distillery, from the malt floor through to the bottling line. The tour includes a tasting of two Kilchoman whiskies and a Kilchoman glass for you to take home. Drivers drams (takeaway samples) are available on request. Children under the age of 8 years old are permitted on the tour but you'll need to let the distillery know in advance of their attendance. Online bookings are available.
Limited Edition Tasting and Tour
Premium Distillery Tours run at at 11:00 am, costs £40 per person (18 years and older only) and takes approximately 2 hours. The Premium Tour includes a more in-depth look at Kilchoman's Farm Distillery philosophy, what makes their single malt so unique, and what plans they have for the future. A tutored tasting of the core range is provided afterwards, and a lunch package can also be booked for group sizes of six (6) or more. Online bookings are available.
A moving tasting experience and tour - sample a different Kilchoman whisky in each of the main distillery production areas, including the Malt Floor, Kiln and Warehouse, then head back to the visitor centre for a dram of the latest distillery only (limited edition) single cask release. The Roving Tasting Tour runs at 2:30 pm, costs £25 per person (18 years and older only) and takes approximately 90 minutes. Online bookings are available.
Group bookings for 12 or more persons can be booked privately, and lunch packages can also be arranged.
View the Kilchoman Distillery Booking Page for more information.
Kilchoman Distillery Images
What Else Is Nearby
References & Further Reading
Ingvar Ronde's annual guide to all things Scotch whisky, The Malt Whisky Yearbook is your go-to guide for distillery facts and stats. With comprehensive and up-to-date distillery summaries, editorials on the state of world whisky, profiles on global whisky trail blazers (the people having the most impact on the industry), the Malt Whisky Yearbook packs in a lot of facts and figures and is an essential Almanac for whisky fans.
Whiskies Galore is not your average whisky book. It is not simply a catalogue of distilleries, but a story of discovery and adventure. Join Ian Buxton on a personal journey across Scotland's islands, combining his expert knowledge of whisky with his fondness for anecdote, as he provides a special treat for all who love Scotland's islands and their drams.
Spirit of Place by Charles MacLean, with photographs by Lara Platman and Allan Macdonald, is a unique addition to the literature on Scotch whisky, from the world's greatest expert on the subject. The perfect gift for anyone planning a tour of Scotland's distilleries, a souvenir for anyone who has visited them, and simply the perfect companion to a dram at home.