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
Pronounced 'kill-ho-man' -- listen to Ralfy review 457 (also below) at the 1:00 mark.
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 Kilchoman Distillery Visitor Centre is currently closed due to to COVID 19, so sadly there are no tours or tastings available at present.
For bookings Tel: +44 (0) 1496 850011 or book your tour online. Bookings are highly advisable to avoid disappointment.
Kilchoman Visitor Centre and Cafe
The visitor centre and cafe are open daily from 9.45am – 5pm.
Distillery production is on Monday – Friday all year round.
Classic Distillery Tours run at 10:00 am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm daily, costs £10 and takes approximately 1 hour: 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.
Premium Distillery Tours run at at 11:00 am, costs £35 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.
A moving tasting experience of five (5) Kilchoman whiskies, sampled as you walk around Kilchoman distillery, including the Malt Floor, Kiln and Warehouse. The Roving Tasting Tour runs at 3:30 pm daily, costs £25 and takes approximately 1 hour.
Whisky and Wilderness Tour - OUR PICK
An exploration of the Kilchoman Distillery farm and surrounding landscape (which is absolutely beautiful). Learn about the history of the area, the local wildlife, and enjoy the spectacular views while enjoying a tasting or two. The Whisky and Wilderness Tour runs at 11:00 am on Thursday, April to September, costs £35, and takes approximately 2.5 hours. An intermediate level of fitness is required, as is appropriate clothing and footwear, as you will be walking through the marsh grounds.
Group bookings for 8 or more persons, including lunch packages, can also be arranged.
Call in advance if children under the age of 18 would like to do the tour, as limited complimentary places are available. Tastings are only for those aged 18 years and over (proof of age may be required). Take-away samples are available for designated drivers.
View the Kilchoman Distillery Booking Page for more information