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Kilchoman was founded in 2005, dedicated to reviving the art of farm distilling on their island. Home to nine distilleries including Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg, Islay is famous for their smoky peated drams. Of the nine, only Kilchoman uses 100% Islay barley, which is grown in the center of the island, away from the coastal distilleries. Kilchoman grows 200 tons of barley each year for their line. Kilchoman floor-malts exclusively; they are the only Islay distillery to engage in this laborious process. The leftover malt slurry from distilling goes back to the farm, as well, feeding Aberdeen cattle and fertilizing the fields.
As you can imagine, Kilchoman grows, harvests, malts, and peats (smokes) their own grain, surely they are working with heritage stills for the whisky. Yes. High-necked copper pot stills extract a light, floral sweetness from the mash, which, by the way, has been fermented a ridiculously long time, far longer than average, encouraging complex esters to form. These chains, more common in a richly aromatic spirit like Jamaican rum, give the whisky a distinctive perfume. Aging and even the bottling are done on site. (By now, it probably goes without saying that Kilchoman is one of two independent distillers on Islay. You can’t imagine any corporate owner indulging this kind of preciousness!)
NOSE: Citrus fruit, shortbread cookies, peat smoke
PALATE: Honey and orchard fruits, salt, cinnamon, iodine, pepper and maybe a note of Tiger Balm
FINISH: Long and lingering, with sparks of black pepper