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Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012

Average score from 11 reviews and 11 ratings 86

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012

Product details

  • Brand: Kilchoman
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%

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Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012

The reviewed bottle has been open for one week. My great thanks to @PMessinger for the reviewed bottle. There is no age statement on Machir Bay

Nose: light smoke, with moderatley heavy peat, a little petrol and a little sea-air; well-integrated, with noticeable malt. The peat is perched on a balance point between sweet and bitter, as is the nose as a whole. Simple but nice. Added water broadens the nose and brings out sweetness. This nose is good with water. Score: 21.5/25 points

Taste: much stronger flavours in the mouth, including lots of anise/black licorice and brine. The peaty flavours take over with the barley-malt relegated to the background. There is some range in the peaty flavours though, which adds dimension. Added water homogenises the palate and makes it richer and more vibrant. The balance here is mostly toward the bitter, with a little sweet balance. Score: 21.5/25 points

Finish: ashy peat lingers very long in the mouth. The finish moves even more strongly bitter. Water mellows the finish and brings out more of a sweet balance. Score: 21.5/25 points

Balance: this is a bitter whisky mostly, but it has enough sweet to add some contrast. Those who do not like the bitter will not care for this. I've had the 2011 Release Machir Bay and would rate it at 92 points. This 2012 Machir Bay is less complex, less balanced, and less vibrant, but still very nice. I prefer drinking this 2012 release Machir Bay with water. Score: 21.5/25 points

Total Sequential Score: 86/100 points

Strength: strong flavours throughout, particularly with water added. Score: 23.5/25 points

Quality: good to very good quality of flavours, though it is hard to taste the malt through the peat and brine. Score: 21.5/25 points

Variety: just adequate variety of flavours derived mostly from the peat and brine. Score: 20.5/25 points

Harmony: adequate harmony, as long as you like bitter. Score: 20.5/25 points

Total Non-Sequential Score: 86/100 points

Comment: the 2011 Release of Kilchoman Machir Bay impressed me very greatly. This 2012 iteration is nice enough, but not a star


Not, not Gorm. Garm! As in the Norse god dog aka "Hound of Hel." Yes, this peaty surprise has got me rolling my eyes in pleasure.

It's not all that sophisticated but it's satisfying. Reminds me a little bit of a Blackadder Smoking Islay that I drained last winter.

Nose: Nice deep peaty essence that is a little like Ardbeg. Red clay tilth. Fresh sea air. Wet sand. Nilla Wafers.

Palate: Wet hay, more peat, garlic, touch of smoke, rich flavorful peat, vanilla fudge.

Finish: Short at first and then makes a come-back to linger. Not sweet and not bitter. Goldie locks finish! Just right with a touch of honey comb, lemon rind and BBQ briquettes.

No water is needed for this dram and so I will not add any!

Many reviewers mix up BBQ meat with the petrol tint of briquettes. I do not since I don't cook with petroleum based products, nor do I store my left overs in plastic.

I like this dram. It's nice but a little expensive in my neck of the woods at nearly $70. For that price, I think I'd rather get a bottle of Uigeadail, at least until this Machir Bay gets a bit older.

As soon as it's up over 10 years then I will opt for the Kilchoman over the Ardbeg Uigeadail, which just keeps getting younger and younger. At the rate it's going, the Ardbeg will lose eventually and the tortoise-like Kilchoman will come out ahead in the race for fresh green from my wallet.

And here is the full quotation from the Poetic Eddy of Snorri, that piebald monk of yore who suspiciously held sway and allegedly "preserved" the Norse legends, which were pretty much all wiped out by necromancer warlocks feigning to be Christians:

Garmur bayed loudly / At the mouth of Gnipa Cave / The chains will be broken / Freco will rush out / Wise, she knows many things / But I see beyond / From the twilight of the Deities, the fierce Sigtíva.


Machir Bay is all but three years old. It is a mix of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks (about 30%). The first time I tried this was at a Kilchoman tasting in Ghent. I recently received a sample from my whisky buddy Pat and I am happy to try it again in earnest.

Soft nose on lime, mild ashes, hay and freshly cut grass. Underneath a nice layer of tropical fruit. Pineapple appears in my mind’s eye. Turns quite floral after a while, but far from disturbing. The peat is fairly discreet.

On the palate, it is a lot sweeter. The tropical fruit comes first (pineapple again, but also peach and apricot), then a good helping of spices (ginger, black pepper, aniseed). The peat is much more powerful, giving him a nice smoky character. The ashes are discernable too. A drop of fish oil gives it a salty edge. Nice!

The finish is surprisingly long without a trace of oak. Sweet and smoky.

This Machir Bay is a typical Islay with a nice tropical edge, thanks to the sherry cask. Thanks, Pat!

Interesting review @markjedi1 - the fish oil thing sounds inspired! Peat & tropical fruit... very enticing, must look out for this one!


Very smokey on the nose. Very. Little hint of fresh mowed lawn. First taste is less smokey and more sweet. Finish is a light and enjoyable smokiness. Adding water shows some burnt caramel flavours. Sweetness disappeared, but a more fresh and sea air Islay taste came at the finish.

Nice description. I am having a Machir Bay 2013 at the moment. Somehow it reminds me of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask and the Talisker 10 - probably what you would get when you mix the two together.

It is a goodly drink and the distillery does show promise.


Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 is just a beautiful drinking Whisky. As you may already be aware this is a very young whisky being a vatting of 3,4 and 5 year old bourban barrels which are then finished for 8 weeks in oloroso sherry barrels. However as many will attest to age in this case means very little and is a great example of why drinking whisky is about exploring the different flavour profiles and nothing to do with an age statement.

This review is from a bottle that is half finished and opened for 7 months.

Colour: pale lemon and in the glass you can see the natural oils present

Nose: initial impression is this wonderful combination of floral lemon citrus, salt and an almost sweet peat. After a few minutes you start to get the scent of barley and grains mixed with notes of honey and just a subtle note of cadburys fruit and nut bar. Really beautiful and there is just something about those barley scents that remind me a bit of Port Charlotte / Bruichladdich (which for me is a good thing) (23)

Palate: the initial palate is rather subtle, a little touch of vanilla sweetness which very quickly gives way to citrus, mellow peat with a hint of brine. The mouthfeel is fantastic, oily and very buttery. Very smooth but just lacking some richness though that the nose hinted at. (21)

Finish: The finish is where the magic happens in this whisky, this strong wave of citrus peat (almost zesty?) and brine that was so profound on the nose comes through and floods the mouth. Rich oils just seem to coat everything and a peppery spiced peat flavour lingers. (23)

Balance: The balance of this whisky is good, all the flavours work really well and create a brilliant combination that leads you on a few different paths. The only thing lacking was a bit more richness on the initial palate. (22)

Total score of 89

Highly recommend this Whisky for anyone , it is highly drinkable and it's one of those bottles that I just can not seem to keep my hands off. Can not wait to see what lies ahead for this distillery in the future


Because I tend to be skeptical about nearly everything, I resisted the temptation to purchase Kilchoman Machir Bay for a while, despite the widespread praise it’s received. How could something so young be so good? Isn’t this another “gimmick” whisky for which a fancy finish has been employed to mask tender years? Why, 60% of its contents have barely outgrown new-make diapers, for cryin’ out loud!

Then I had a taste, now I’m a believer, to paraphrase the Monkees. Somebody at the distillery (founder Anthony Wills?) must be a Mister Rogers when it comes to dealing with three-, four-, and five-year-old kids (the ages of the malts herein), because something’s going on here that makes the most out of juvenile ingredients. It’s still very light, and the peat-and-sweet content might seem a little artificially cranked up to compensate for the lightness, but the overall quality of the Machir Bay portends great things for the future of Kilchoman.

Notes based on a three-month-old bottle at the 2/3 level. It seems a little open-bottle time has softened some of the spirity edges that I recall from my first dram, which I would have ranked at about 85. Again, it’s light—much lighter than any 46% ABV’er that comes to mind—but it’s still more impressive than anything so young ought to be.

Nose: So light, yet so complex. Fresh salty sea air overrides and tames a dozen things going on underneath: peat, bacon, lemon rind, fresh-cut grass, shellfish, milk chocolate, wood ash, honey, lilacs, Sauvignon Blanc, oranges, and canned cling peaches (yup, that’s a dozen). Not everything hits all at once. It took a good half hour to nose this whisky, both neat and with a teensy dollop of water, in order to detect all of the above elements.

Palate: Shish Kabob doused with strawberry glaze and roasted over a wood-and-peat fire. A bit of sharp licorice and wood when sampled neat; a little more creamy-sweet peat with a drop of water. I like it both ways. Despite the abundant pleasing flavors, it’s still feather-light. Water changes this whisky; it doesn’t tone it down. It’s too mild-mannered to withstand much toning down in the first place. I love these flavors, but I wish there were a little more bang behind them.

Finish: Fairly long and probably the most powerful component of the experience, even as it loses much of its sweetness and acquires some salt and pepper. Very woody and slightly grainy. A trace of honey keeps the bitterness at bay.

I’m sure I’m not the only one eagerly anticipating what will emerge from the Kilchoman casks after a 10- or 12-year rest in the warehouses. Has any other distillery ever acquired such a high reputation after only eight years of operation? Are they on their way to becoming the stuff of legend? Only the “fourth ingredient” will tell.

I fancy Kilchoman a lot, but what would these whiskies cost when 10, 12 or even 18yrs? :( Lets just hope they won't make concessions in quality.


Kilchoman's Machir Bay, released in 2012, is made up of 60% 3 year old, 35% 4 year old and 5% 5 year old whisky. First in bourbon barrels and after vatted, finished in Oloroso butts for 2 months.

I have to say that the young age does show, and not in a good way. Kilchoman Machir Bay gives you a good start with it's eccentric nose but after that it leaves flat.

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 is definitely like the movie Young Guns. It has potential but not enough character or uncut talent. An OK dram.

Nose: Salty smoke and sweet malt at first. After a while it turns into sharp vinegar and lemons. Very interesting.

Taste: Oaky and dry with spices. There's a nice mix of spice and peat with something that's bittersweet but then again, that's pretty much it. Hints of smoke are there but for my taste and in this case, not smoky enough.

Finish: Very long and salty but tangy without character. Even the smokiness seems to disappear.

Balance: Lack of smoke is bit of a disappointment and even the peatiness fades away. I guess I'm being harsh when looking at my score, which is not bad. I was just expecting more when it comes to the smoke. Some say this one's complex but I didn't find complexity.


Nose: Very earthy peat, fresh sea air, aromatic ground coffee and almond milk

Palate: Peat that sits for a long while then gives way to warm sugar cookies and fresh cut grass

Body: Light, but don't be fooled. It's flavour and aroma suggests a much stronger presence.

Finish: That earthy peat

This is a very young whiskey which is made up of mostly Kilchoman's 3 year old batch, some 4 and some 5. I've heard many people suggest that the older a whiskey is, the better it is. I have never believed that myself, but if you do, Kilchoman Machir Bay may just influence your opinion.



Sweet firery malty arival, developes intomedium length smooth smokey mouth coating finish.

Tried this at the Highland Still house a few days ago. It was fairly disappointing, perhaps because it followed a glass of Arbeg Beist that was much much better, IMO.

Great info, I've not had the Ardbeg Beist, however I can easily imagine that many whiskys distilled in similar regions might have different flavor profiles. Thanks again. :)


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!!!

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).

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!


Nose: This one smacked me in the face with peat, rubber bands, and alcohol upon first whiffs. With time the rubber and alcohol mellows enough that it's not totally off-putting. Notes of bread dough, green banana, malt and citrus emerge.

Taste: Very light at first, then the peat comes on strong... in fact it's pretty hard to taste anything but. And it's an ashy peat. Rubber bands are back in a big way--tart and sharp. Some unpleasant metallic notes. Going to try adding water. Water freshens the nose up a bit, releasing some sweet malt and fresh seaside smells. Much sweeter arrival now too... caramel peat, ash is gone. Hay and malt. Wet clay. Still some rubber, but it's not as sharp. Fortunately the metallic notes have gone as well.

Finish: Much better than the taste... fresher and fairly prolonged. Lingering peat. Sweet cereal. Stewed peaches. Honey on toasted home-made buns.

I'm hoping the faults in the whisky are due only to it being fairly young spirit. The finish shows a lot of promise, so I'm hoping that bodes well for future, more mature releases. I prefer the simpler, but more enjoyable, Kilchoman 2006 Vintage over this. That said, the Machir Bay is more complex... just not in all the right ways... yet.

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