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Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012

Young, Lovely Lad

0 2092

@BlissInABarrelReview by @BlissInABarrel

16th Dec 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I work at a liquor store and sometimes I feel like an ass when I someone tells me, "I don't drink anything younger than a 12 year old whisky," because my initial reactions is, "I want to grab you by the collar and shake the Sh#t out of you and smack you in the face!" Then, at that moment, I bite my tongue, thinking that I probably am a condescending jerk, and say, "Ah..okay...that's cool.." and I keep on walking.

There are so many factors in making a whisky stunning and, as you guys know, the older something is doesn't always mean it tastes better. At any rate, my point is, "I FRACKIN' love this Kilchoman Machir Bay," and stand by it 100%. Sure, 60% of the the juice is composed of 3-year-old scotch; 35% is 4 yr old; and the remaining 5% is 5 yr old....but there's something magical and cohesive about this product. Perhaps they're using the "wet barrel" technique, which means they're not breaking down the ex-bourbon casks into staves and shipping them over to Scotland to rebuild them on site. With that being said, I can only imagine that this Machir Bay is able to pick up some of the Buffalo Trace (that's the ex-bourbon casks that Kilchoman is using for this one) characteristics. Keep in mind, purchasing whole barrels and shipping them over to Scotland as a whole barrel is quite an expensive process. However, the Kilchoman Team has decided to go this route and carefully choose their casks because they believe that when the barrels are in excellent condition, one can release the scotches at a younger age.

Nose (Neat): Robust brininess on the forefront with an underlying hint of rose petals. When I pull the glass forward towards my nose, the salty smoke becomes more apparent and when I pull the glass away from me the aroma softens, giving me notes of sweet bread. When I lean my left nostril into the glass, I get milk chocolate! MM! How lovely!! My right nostril, on the other hand, picks up alcohol (oh! the burning) and smoke.

Flavour (Neat): There's some spice here and it tastes creamy, too. There are undertones of sweetness here that holds the smoke and char together. Towards the end, the sugar tones move away and the char comes forward. The orange zests tingles the sides of my tongue, while the aroma of smoke hits my nasal cavity quickly.

Finish (Neat): Coffee. The smoke rides here for a few minutes, but agave syrup kicks in. Burnt sugar emerges 5 minutes later. 15 minutes later, dark chocolate and oak comes out. Damn, this whisky has long finish, but I'm not complaining! ;D 20 minutes in, toasted coffee beans! Holy crap! The finish is still rolling in!!! It's kicking ass here!

Nose with 2 Drops of Water: Saltiness of the whisky comes out and there's a secondary hint of feet. When I pull the glass away from my nose, the scent of coconut emerges. When I pull the glass forward, it has the aroma of toasted grains. Citrus qualities kick in when I lean into my left nostril! Woah! That made me slightly dizzy! Holy crap! When I lean into my right nostril, I get more of a mesquite wood note.

Flavour with 2 Drops of Water: Wow! With two drops of water, it appears that the flavor gets more amped up and robust. It becomes richer and sweeter in the sense that I pick up burnt sugar, the kind you see at the base of a flan. MMM. It's rich and hearty! I actually prefer it with 2 drops of water. The char is still there, so don't you worry about losing that smoke! :D It gets spicy with water, too. It tingles the sides of my tongue and I get a dose of grapefruit on the sides of my tongue.

Finish (Neat): It has a bitter ending, while the char and smoke stay steady. When I hum and exhale, I get a hint of mocha, specifically from an eclair. There's an overtone of orange zests 5 minutes after the finish line.

Burp: Pears!

Overall: This is an absolutely stunning whisky, the tour de force of Islay scotches. (I LOVE everything on Islay, so I'm 100% in when you hand me something from this region). I appreciate it a lot because I think this company is a little bit of an underdog. I also think that this is a great whisky for those who are intimidated by stuff from Islay. Usually, when I hear people complain about peated-style whiskies they say, "UGH! It's too medicinal and it tastes like band aids!" However, just like other types of whiskies, there's a bunch of different types of peated-style whiskies. Different types of peat occur due to the type of vegetation that is found in the peat. For example, at Highland Park, lots of their peat is composed of heather, and heather has the tendency to be floral and sweet. So, Highland Park expressions will be influenced by the characteristics of that plant. On that note, back to Kilchoman, because the sweetness balances out the smoke, I think this is a great whisky for people who are on the fence about smokey styles or who are kind of intimidated to dunk their heads straight into the peated-smokey style whiskies like the Ardbegs and Lagavulins (Ardbegs and Lagavulins are so freakin awesome). Now, I LOVE my super smoky whiskies from Ardbeg and Lagavulin. You name any stuff from Islay, I'm 100% in!!! This particular one is a great introduction to those who are new to this region because the smoke and sweetness compliment each other. There's just enough smoke to lure you and just enough of that confectionary note of burnt sugar to bring both characteristics together. I hope you will enjoy the Machir Bay as much as I do! ^^ It's a drink that makes me smile because I get to share it with my friends and I see their eyes light up. One person said, "I'm surprised I like this! Usually I hate peated whiskies! I never thought I'd like something like this, but I do and I want my own bottle." It feels good when I see their expressions...it kind of reminds me of the time when I gave a Christmas present to my nephews. At first, I thought they wouldn't care. I figured after 2 days, they'd destroy the toys and light them on fire, but I saw the boys' eyes lit up and they said, "WOOOAH! Thank you, auntie!" and it made me happy. I thought, "Oh! This is why people give gifts to little kiddies." Machir Bay makes my heart sing and it brings a smile to my face! ^^ I really, really hope you like it!!!

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SquidgyAsh commented

Great review! Cant wait to try this whisky!

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

Great review! Love the Machir Bay...and I am glad that you are generally restrained in public...it makes for fewer brawls. Petite can be fierce!

10 years ago 0

BlissInABarrel commented

Victor, I'm glad that i refrain myself, too. I notice that when I drink whisky I get amped up and it makes me want to fight a bear....not that I'm angry, but ya know...it has that adventurous spirit. on that note, how do i go about and edit my review? i realized there were some grammatical errors?

10 years ago 0

YakLord commented

Unfortunately, the only thing you can change after you hit 'submit' is the score...I also have some reviews that I'd like to edit but cannot...

10 years ago 0

Pudge72 commented

Wonderful (1st!) review, BIAB (gotta love the 'burp' note...is that the 'finish, part 2'? lol). This sounds like a wonderful bottling, especially considering the age. As a hardcore Islay fan, your review carries extra weight. I am also an Islay fan (though my cabinet follows the 'wide variety of styles' approach), especially of the 'sweet peat' profile that I find in Lagavulin.

I am hopeful that a good friend of my wife and I (now in California, ex of London, Ontario) will be able to see his way to picking up this bottle for me at some point (possibly even in the near future...cross fingers).

10 years ago 0

BlissInABarrel commented

Pudge72: Yes, the burp was the finish part 2. I know that's not a classy way to do it, but I've never claim to be a classy broad. ;D I don't purposely belch...sometimes the burp creeps up and I get apricots, peaches and all sorts of goodies. (Bare in mind, I'm one to nose a scotch, thinking that something smells of feet and I sip it anyways...ha...some call it french whore's perfume..i call it feet and lavender. meh...I never turn down any whisky!!!) I hope that you'll get a sample of it, too, and I hope you like it!

10 years ago 0

Russ commented

This is a great write-up! Machir Bay just went on my "to buy" list.

10 years ago 0

NilsG commented

@BloodhoundInAGang I hope those 40% of a tiny-bit-older-than-3-year-old whisky is amazing then. Cause I've had pure 3yo Kilchoman cask strength, and it was rough on the palate I tell you. Guess you have to grab me by the collar and shake the skittles out if me, cause I claim that was nowhere near ready!

No, but jokes aside, I'm sure the Machir Bay tastes a lot better than that. Actually I did try the Machir (got a sample to compare with the 3yo) but I don't remember what it was like. I blame that on two things: 1) I had just had my face violated by the above mentioned 3yo. 2) I was also sitting with my first ever dram of Ardbeg Ten, and few things could have gotten my attention away from it.

I'm keen to try it again when I get the chance.

10 years ago 0

BlissInABarrel commented

Sweaty swede nils, yes try it again since that ardbeg is more intense than the kilchoman ! :) and if u don't like it you totally are a sucky swede! Hahaaha Jk it's okee if you don't like it

10 years ago 0

Pudge72 commented

Ahh, the 'FWP' notes I have read about, but never experienced in a glass of whisky (or otherwise...I've never been on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean, let alone France)...you must be an 80's (iirc) Bowmore drinker, 'BIAB'.

Unfortunately, the Machir Bay was sold out at the store that our friend visited to very kindly pick up a Christmas present for yours truly. In lieu, I was the very lucky recipient of Sullivan's Cove Double Cask that 'jdcook' reviewed wonderfully, a while back. It remains unopened at this point, though only because I continue to try to keep my open bottles cabinet at 30 or less. I have about four bottles to go until the SCDC gets opened.

Sorry for the sidetrack here, I do hope to have my friend try again in the summer to get the Machir Bay...it shall be mine someday.

10 years ago 0

Jonathan commented

I understand your enthusiasm for this malt!

10 years ago 0

BlissInABarrel commented

Pudge, I'm not cool enough to know what 80's bowmore !! As for Sullivan's cove have you tried the French oak finish? I thought it was yummy though I believe they're using Australian fortified wine barrels but they just called it French oak because it fits on the label!

10 years ago 0

PeatyZealot commented

Apart from the 'footnote' in the nose (do you like that smell?) this sounds really interesting. Cool background info about the casks, I can imagine they keep a lot more fresh flavour like that. Cant wait to dive into these and the Laddies!

10 years ago 0

squidboy007 commented

Just awesome. Was on the fence about this and decided to go for it thx to this review. Will pick up a bottle soon!

10 years ago 0

Pudge72 commented

@BIAB...the "FWP", to my understanding, is a phenomenon that was (unfortunately) unique to Bowmore bottlings that I believe hit store shelves in the late 80's/early 90's. The problem (overly floral, especially on lavender) is absent from current bottles. Again, I never have actually experienced this myself in a tasting, just something that I have read about on various fora (forums, forum, whatever). :) Sorry for the delayed reply.

10 years ago 0

talexander commented

Love the Machir Bay - in fact, I enjoy most Kilchomans. I own the 2007 Vintage, and a single cask bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market in Calgary. Also - I've visited the distillery! i highly recommend a visit. You would have a wonderful time in Islay, and Kilchoman is such a small farm distally. The malting floor is literally in a garage, and it is charming from top to bottom. Great review, thank you!

9 years ago 0

Robert99 commented

@BlissinABarrel I first read this review starting with the tasting notes as I do too often. So I started with the nose and I read about the rose petal hint and the sweet bread and I thought "That would be the way I would described the characteristic flavors of Buffalo Trace" wich I really like. So I went back and read the full review (Great job) and that was when I dicovered that they used BT barrel for Machir Bay. So a big thanks for your review, I will now look for this scotch.

I would really enjoy some new reviews from you since you seem to have a palate I could relate too and your style is

8 years ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

Does anyone know whether Kilchoman does indeed ship their ex-bourbon barrels over whole and "wet"?

Or is that just speculation?

5 years ago 0

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