Kilchoman          The Church of Comman


Young whiskies are on the market, but surprisingly very delicate in flavour and taste. The farm distillery of Islay produces now 124,719 litres pure alcohol a year according to John MacLellan (2013). Kilchoman is one of the smallest commerical distilleries in Scotland.

The first distillation was on December 14th, 2005. There are own floor maltings with Islay barley from the Rockside farm, however, the main supplier is Port Ellen Maltings (54 ppm).  There is only one small modern dunnage warehouse on site. First fill Bourbon casks (80%) and some Sherry butts (20%) are filled. A new warehouse and blending centre were built at Loch Indaal near Bruichladdich (2012).

There is a nice visitor‘s centre offering good food. „A have to be place!“ Warm-hearted welcome.  Support the independent distillery. Makes for a new variety of Islay malts. Season bottlings like Spring Release, Summer Release, Autumn Release or Winter Release plus special Festival Releases. There are plans for a new visitor centre with tasting room.

Vintage bottlings and Machir Bay, Sanaig and others are new on the market.

In 2011 two  „100% Islay“ expressions were released. „100 tonnes of malting barley (variety - publican) is grown and malted at the distillery. This represents 30% of our annual production. The balance of malt is purchased from the Port Ellen Maltings on the island. Both malts are kept separate throughout  the production process. We now have our unique 100% Islay single malt whisky - from barley to bottling.“ (see Kilchoman‘s website)

The „own Kilchoman Rockside barley“ yield in January 2012 was of 386 litres per tonne of malted barley. „We have recently changed to use Publican variety of barley and use peat dug from Islay peat bogs not far from the distillery,“ says Anthony Wills, Distillery Managing Director. 

A new warehouse was built near Conisby, Loch Indaal (opened in November, 2013).

Character of the spirit: light, fresh, fruity, floral, citrus, some sweetness and peat smoke.

Distillery Manager: John MacLellan (came from Bunnahabhain mid-2010) followed Malcolm Rennie who went to Annandale Distillery (Lowlands, to be reopened in the future).

„We had a record production year in 2012 and the guys in the still house managed to produce 124,719 litres of alcohol, an increase of almost 8000 litres on 2011. We filled a total of 844 casks which varied between barrels, hogsheads and butts.

We are planning to make a couple of changes at Kilchoman in 2013. At some stage this year we hope to run the distillery at our maximum production level. If the Islay weather keeps providing us with enough water to produce all year then we hope to produce around 140,000 litres of alcohol.“ Kilchoman Newsletter, January 2013.

The distillery is presently running at full capacity. There were another washbacks installed in 2015 which will allow an annual production of almost 200,000 litres in 2016. Altogether there are six washbacks.

In June 2015 Kilchoman bought Rockside Farm from Mark and Rohaise French.

John McLellan who was Distillery Manager and Master Blender died in April 2016. He created most successful and highly acclaimed releases.

Distillery Production Manager: Robin Bicknell (2016)

Recent article in German about Kilchoman Distillery by the editor of The Gateway to Distilleries which was published in the Irland Journal 3.12, please see:

Please double-click and thumbnail the photo to open the tour.

Thank you.

Owner:  Kilchoman Distillery Co. Ltd.