Kilchoman Genesis: Malting – Stage 2

More than a year ago, Harvest – Stage 1, the first bottling of the Genesis series developed by the German Kilchoman importer Hanseatische Weinhandelsgesellschaft Bremen, was released. Now the second bottling of the series, Malting – Stage 2, followed just in time for the Christmas season.

The marketing concept of the Genesis series is to trace the production of Kilchoman whisky “from barley to bottle” with individual bottlings. The eight stages of the journey, which takes at least 1130 days (as Kilchoman founder Anthony Wills puts it), from the harvesting of the barley, malting, peating, mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing to bottling, are each to be the subject of a separate bottling, thus honouring the traditions of a farm distillery.

The bottle design of the series is very appealing and the packaging is not the Kilchoman standard cardboard box, but the sturdy hinged box, which is already known from some Kilchoman special bottlings.

As the name Malting – Stage 2 suggests, the bottling is dedicated to the 2nd production step of whisky making, the malting of the barley, i.e. days 6-12. Kilchoman grows about 200 tonnes of barley every year on the surrounding fields of Rockside Farm. This is malted in the distillery itself after harvest. Kilchoman is one of only a handful of distilleries in Scotland still practicing the labour intensive traditional floor malting. About 30% of Kilchoman’s whisky is made with this malt and marketed as Kilchoman 100% Islay, the remaining 70% or so is made with malt from the Port Ellen Maltings.

The Genesis Malting – Stage 2 is again a Small Batch release, this time with 75% Bourbon, 5% Oloroso Sherry and 20% Sauternes cask content, i.e. practically the Germany Small Batch No. 3. The basis of the Small Batch series for selected markets, introduced in summer 2019, is, to put it simply, a Machir Bay vatting with 46% alcohol, to which another special cask variety is then added. In this case, the casks in question are Sauternes wine casks – as is very common this year with the worldwide small batch releases.

A special feature of this small batch, however, is that the whisky it contains was made partly from barley of the Concerto variety from the Port Ellen Maltings and partly from self-malted barley of the Concerto and Laureate varieties. This blending of its two differently peated production lines is completely unusual at Kilchoman, but as with the 1st Genesis release, it was certainly necessary in order to do at least some justice to the theme of the bottling.

The alcohol content of the bottling is 49.2% abv, the already amazingly high edition of 3,600 bottles of the first release was increased to 4,200 bottles.


Malting the barley at Kilchoman