I Lagavulin I Bruichladdich I Caol Ila I Port Ellen I LaphroaigI Bowmore I Jura I Kilchoman I Ardbeg I
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 !).
Nevertheless, the distillery was fully packed with curious and illeachs, including the neighbours from Bruichladdich, Bowmore and the south of Islay
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 (?).
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.
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.
I hope to come again next year to Kilchoman and to taste their new make spirit!