Just as the drinks industry becomes consumed by giant corporations, hell bent on designing unpalatable new alcopops by extensive use of the ‘focus group’ and ‘blue-sky’ marketing twaddle, comes a brand-new independent microdistillery, built from scratch right where Scotch whisky itself was probably invented. Kilchoman, based on the Scottish island of Islay, can lay claim to being practically at the centre of the cradle of distillation – it was reportedly here in the late 15th Century that King James IV was first introduced to the art of distillation by the Celtic Lord Of the Isles.
A recent Launch event marked the coming of age for the distillery’s first bottling, now legally allowed to be labelled whisky after three years sleepily maturing in oak casks. For the distillery owner, Anthony Wills and his team, three years must have seemed like a lifetime, when they first embarked on transforming the remote Rockside Farm into their dream distillery back in 2002.
Mr. Wills, effectively ‘midwife’ to the new whisky, remarked that “to make this happen hasn’t been easy ride at all- we’ve had to literally eat, sleep and drink Kilchoman 24 hours a day.” (which, on reflection, doesn’t sound too bad)
However, it was certainly all about the drinking at last week’s prestigious opening ceremony, as glasses of Kilchoman Three-Year-Old were proudly led into the room of assembled guests to a rousing reel from a local pipe band – certainly a fitting display for Islay’s youngest whisky and a perfectly-timed renaissance for simple, independent distillation.
For more information visit Kilchomandistillery.com￼