Scotland: Islay

Kilchoman Distillery (pronounced kilhoman) opened in June 2005, the first whisky distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years. Located on Rockside Farm near Machir Bay, Kilchoman was created in the tradition of farm distilleries, which were popular on Islay in the 19th century, but either closed or absorbed into one of the larger distilleries over time.

This artisanal distillery is one of only six in Scotland that still use traditional floor maltings. Indeed, the intention of founder Anthony Wills has been to ensure that all parts of the whisky production process (barley growing, malting, distilling, maturing and bottling) are carried out on Islay itself. To date, Kilchoman hasn’t been able to completely fulfil this goal, given that they have only been able to produce enough barley to cover about 30% of their annual whisky production. The rest of their required malt is purchased from the Port Ellen maltings. The two malts are kept separate during the production process, ensuring that Kilchoman’s 100% Islay whisky is indeed just that.

Kilchoman’s first casks were filled in December 2005, and whisky has been released regularly since 2009. For fans of artisanal whisky, this is an excellent opportunity to taste a whisky as it matures over time. Kilchoman is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland with an annual production of about 100 000 litres, just slightly more than that produced by Edradour, but considerably less than that produced by it’s larger neighbours (Caol Ila, for example, produces the same amount of whisky in a week!)

The distillery used to hold the title of Most Westerly Distillery In Scotland, but lost this to Abhainn Dearg Distillery when it opened on the Isle of Lewis in 2007.

Address: Rockside Farm, Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay, Argyll PA49 7UT
Twitter: @kilchoman05
Facebook: Kilchoman Distillery Facebook page
Telephone: +44 1496 85 0011
Opening Hours & Tours Please contact the distillery directly for up-to-date opening hours and tour times/prices