Two experimental vats installed

Two new vatting vessels were recently installed in the newest warehouse of Kilchoman Distillery. Unlike the two vatting tanks used to marry larger releases in Warehouse No. 1, these are not made of stainless steel but are ex-red wine oak vats and are to be used for maturation experiments.

The vats have been made to Kilchoman’s specifications by the Portuguese cooperage Dias, which has been supplying Kilchoman with “experimental” casks for several years (including STR Casks). The inner surface of the vats has been shaved, toasted and re-charred, in effect two huge STR Casks were produced here. The two vats were charred to different degrees (char level 2 and 3). It will be interesting to see how these different charring levels will affect the whisky stored in them.

In the meantime, the two 6.000 litre vats have both been filled with the contents of nineteen 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels each from 2016. The two experimental vats will now rest in the warehouse where the team will regularly rummage the spirit and keep an eye on how things develop. One can already be curious about the result of this unusual finishing. Anthony Wills predicts that maturation will be slower in the vats due to their size but it will be interesting to see what happens.

It is good to see that Kilchoman’s joy of experimentation seems to have no end. In recent months and years, new barley and yeast varieties, cask ageing experiments and different peating levels have been reported, and now this new project of Anthony Wills. We will keep you updated!


Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder & Managing Director with the new vats. Picture by Kilchoman Distillery