The Kilchoman distillery was founded in 2005 at the Rochside Farm, not far from Machir Bay at Islay’s West Coast. Kilchoman is Scotland’s most Westerly whisky distillery and draws its water from a spring on Cnoc Dubh, just above Rochside Farm.
The Kilchoman distillery is the brainchild of Anthony Wills, a former wine industry professional who wished to found a small-scale, traditional distillery. Subsequently Mark and Rohaise French, of the Rochside Farm, were keen on using local produce (and had their own food label, Islay Fine Food), so the idea of establishing an artisan, traditional distillery fitted in perfectly with their ethos.
The farm is entirely self-contained, Barley is grown and malted at the distillery, maturations will take place onsite, as will bottling. The resultant single malt Scotch whisky will not undergo chill-filtration nor will spirit caramel be added, the standard strength will be at 50% abv, reduced with Islay water.
Distillation commenced in November of 2005 and 80% of the spirit is matured in ex-bourbon casks, from Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky, the remaining spirit will be matured in Oloroso sherry butts.
There is a visitor centre on the site and a Kilchoman new make spirit has already been released, exhibiting a distinct nuttiness and a sumptuous peat even at this early stage. The two stills at the Kilchoman whisky distillery proffer a total capacity of just 90,000 litres per annum, in terms of scale the Kilchoman distillery is of roughly equal capacity to the Edradour distillery.