I love distillery tours. Each is always different, with a little insight into what makes each drink what it is. Of course the process is generally the same each time, but it’s the little nuances you look for which define the final product.
Kilchoman is Islays only remaining independent distillery with Bruichladdich now been sold for a whopping £48m (? Or perhaps more??). It’s a farm distillery, so I suppose like a micro brewery.
The advantage of being this size is that you can see the entire distilling process in one go – a large amount of the malting is done at Kilchoman, with supplements from Port Ellen maltings.
The setting for Kilchoman is inland, on the road from Bruichladdich to Saligo Bay area. Not the classic shore side setting with the typical white buildings with large black letteri spelling out the distillery name. Does this setting effect the taste? More on that tomorrow..
It was a quite day in terms of production – the maltings empty, the kiln cooling, but the still room was roasting: it was a very welcome warmth from the lashing Hebridean rain.
The 2 copper stills, although small, were unique in shape, with fairly wide but squat bodies, and a ball at the bottom of the funnel on the spirit still.
This was a good start to a week in Islay, of which we will be in Lagavulin to tomorrow.
From one small new distillery one day, to a traditional shore-side one to tomorrow. That’s what Islay is about. More to follow…