I Lagavulin I Bruichladdich I Caol Ila I Port Ellen I LaphroaigI Bowmore I Jura I Kilchoman I Ardbeg I

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The farm distillery of Kilchoman with the unfinished pagoda roof. The large visitor center (the white building at the front) was fully operational, as well as the restaurant.

The sky cleared as I progressed to Kilchoman for the distillery open day. After biking more than 1 hour on the small countryside road, I finally got my first glimpse of this very nice farm distillery. It has remote location and interestingly, not on the sea shore, a unique characteristic for Islay!

According to the program, the first spirit should have been run on that day, but as you can see on the pictures, the distillery and its premises were not quite ready.

It would have been nice to try their new make, but on the other side, it is a rare opportunity to see a distillery under construction. And don't worry, if you are hungry, the restaurant is fully operational and the visitor center is fitted with all sorts of local craftmaship (Note: visitor center as big as in Ardbeg !).

The kiln was very sexy on that day! And don't try to quench your thirst with the new make. Hopefully, it should come before the end of 2005!

Nevertheless, the distillery was fully packed with curious and illeachs, including the neighbours from Bruichladdich, Bowmore and the south of Islay

The malting floor was fully packed for the official opening of the distillery. What an important day for Anthony Wills! In Islay, the atmosphere is very different from the mainland. You would hardly see managers of competing distilleries talking together (in this case, Lagavulin, Bowmore and Port Ellen/Caol Ila)

In the still house, the unusual shape of the spirit still caught my attention with its large Boil ball, between the body and the head of the still. The boil ball is almost as big as the body, suggesting that Kilchoman whisky will have light flavours. Direct fire for the stills was initially planned but the idea was dropped during the development of the distillery because of the manpower costs and the potential variability in spirit quality. On the other hand, the wash still is rather traditional. The washbacks and the mash tun is done of stainless steel and the mill is coming from an old mill house (?).

Mr. Forsyth was very proud of his "baby" and Malcom Rennie was patiently waiting for the first distillery tour. I was part of the first distillery tour ever, surrounded by Swedish and I found the still house very pleasant. As you can see, the stills are rather small with inclined Lyne arms like those at Lagavulin.

The visitor center was already fully operational and includes a nice large restaurant. The visitor center is fitted with a large amount of local craft for sale. During the first years, the visitor center will be the only source of income, since they could not buy any stocks like the Murray McDavid group did when taking over Bruichladdich.

The distillery was open to everyone before the first tour and many took this opportunity At the end of the day, all of the Kilchoman staff enjoyed peace and quiet and a drink in the kiln!

I spent a lovely day in Kilchoman and passed by Machir bay on my way home. The beach was beautiful and enjoyed a nice rest watching the sea. Not far from the beach and the distillery, you might notice the Kilchoman cross hidden behind the abandoned kilchoman church.

Not very far from the distillery lays the Machir Bay, a beautiful beach.

I hope to come again next year to Kilchoman and to taste their new make spirit!