Last year, I had the pleasure and good fortune to attend an LA Scotch Club tasting with Kilchoman founder, Anthony Wills. It was great times had by all, and since then, I’ve been keen to try every publicly-released expression (and even some exclusive bottlings) from that distillery. And you know what? They’re all fantastic!
However, with pretty much every expression accessible to me, I always find myself gravitating to Kilchoman’s standard, Machir Bay. I find it an extremely well-balanced dram that I can spend quite a bit of time nosing and enjoying.
Though it is a vatting of some young-ish (3-, 4-, and 5-year old) whiskies (some fools will look down on this), the quality in ingredients, process, barrels, and some magic potion truly makes this a remarkable malt (and have converted some of those aforementioned fools to fanatics).
Comprised of spirits aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in oloroso sherry butts, this single malt exhibits a complexity on the nose and the palate that I can’t recall from any other scotches that I had in recent times.
Bottled at 46% ABV, nosing this whisky is a breeze. I get floral notes like hay and freshly-cut grass. There’s also some fruity tangerine, pine sol lemon, and Asian candy with Xylitol. Being from Islay, of course there’s the earthy peat. It’s a bit medicinal but not overwhelming.
Sipping it, there’s no doubt that Machir Bay is a savory, dry whisky. There’s hints of chocolate. Still, it’s all overshadowed by the peat and other goodness. I think that the 92 proof this whisky is bottled at is perfect. It allows a plethora of flavors to develop while allowing the finish to linger for a good amount of time.
Relating this to a life experience, it’s like visiting a moderately-packed county fair, complete with a farm animal petting zoo.
With a street price of around $50 a bottle, I give this a solid A grade.
Locally, it can be found at K&L and Total Wine.