Spirit Review: Kilchoman Distillery's Machir Bay

Kilchoman's Machir Bay is a fine Islay single malt. The distillery was Islay's first farm distillery in 124 years. "Farm distillery" means that they grow their own grain, or at least a portion of the grain used to distill the malt. It's a neat concept, and it produces a great whisky.

The Kilchoman Machir Bay offering comes in at 46% alcohol, but the alcohol is not overpowering, either in nose or taste. Like any good Islay scotch, the initial nose is peaty, like a barbecue, but not overly so. A nice floral scent is present, too. Same goes for the taste. The first taste is of honey and flowers, and then the lingering peatiness kicks in to balance the floral notes. There is a strong anise flavor, as well.

With a little water, it becomes even easier to drink, but the floralness is cut substantially, and the peatiness becomes the main facet. This, I like.

It's not a peat hog, but it's a great Islay scotch. At about $57 a bottle, it's a decent price point. If you love the big peaty taste but you feel like something between the big peat and the Highland, try the Kilchoman offering. Or if your friends are afraid of the peat, try offering them this. My dad still won't touch it, but I think some peat newbies would enjoy it.