February: with the “Machir Bay 2012”, Kilchoman launches its first General Release. Unlike the previous limited releases, it will be permanently available in all Kilchoman markets. The edition is named after a bay not far from the distillery with one of Islays most beautiful sandy beaches. Bottled in batches, they plan to increase the age of the whiskies contained from year to year. The first release is a vatting of 3, 4 and 5 year old 1st Fill ex-bourbon barrels, the 4 year old casks have been finished in Oloroso sherry butts for 8 weeks. From the end of February, the first bottles can be purchased for £38.50 on the distillery’s homepage.
April 9: the first “Sherry Cask Release” from Kilchoman, limited to 6,000 bottles, has been released. The whisky was matured for 4,5 years in Oloroso Sherry Butts. In the future Kilchoman would bring out a Sherry Cask Release every year, but it was not until the second one in 2013 that it was named “Loch Gorm”.
May 23: the Islay Pipe Band, sponsored by Kilchoman Distillery, took part in The Scottish Pipe Championships in Dumbarton at the weekend. They achieved an impressive 5th place in Grade 3 and the winning plaque will be proudly displayed at the distillery.
May 31: Fèis Ìle 2012: The Kilchoman Open Day this time is May 31. On this day, in addition to numerous interesting events, music, food and drink, visitors can expect a whisky bottled exclusively for this occasion. This time it is a four-years old “100% Islay” from the Bourbon Barrels 100-103/2008, which has been finished for 4 weeks in an Oloroso Sherry Butt. The circulation is 439 bottles with an alcohol content of 58.5%. The low number of bottles is explained by the fact that from exactly these barrels in 2011 the Cask Strength version of the “100% Islay Inaugural Release” was already made.
June 12: after narrowly missing out on the final last year, the Kilchoman team wins the 2012 Islay Beach Rugby tournament for the first time. More than 20 teams competed for the Laddie Cup, with Kilchoman beating the Oban team in a hard fought in the final. In addition, Kilchoman’s Richard Mill was named player of the tournament.
July 3: On this day a newly designed website and the Kilchoman Club are launched. The Kilchoman Club will report regularly to its members about news from the distillery and offer exclusive annual special bottlings for sale.
August 1: Kilchoman is very successful at the annual “International Wine and Spirits Competition”. Kilchoman submitted three whiskies to the renowned competition and all three received “ISWC Awards”: “Machir Bay 2012” and the “Vintage 2006” a Gold Award, the “Sherry Cask Release” a Silver Award.
August: due to a breakdown of the kiln Kilchoman produces for a short time an “unpeated” whisky from the farm’s own barley. 75 casks are filled with this rarity. Since the 6650 litre low wines and feints receiver is not laboriously emptied in between the ongoing distillation runs with peated Port Ellen malt, the result is a whisky with a slight peat smoke note, which is why Kilchoman always uses the term “unpeated” in quotation marks later.
August 22: to meet the ever-increasing demand for space for its casks in storage, Kilchoman starts building a new warehouse complex in Conisby, on the other side of the Rhinns on Loch Indaal. Warehouse No. 1 on the distillery site has been full to capacity for some time and Kilchoman has been forced to store some of its casks in other warehouses, e.g. those of the former Port Ellen distillery. In the future, up to 10,000 barrels will be stored in two connected warehouses on an area of 2,400 m2.
September 1: the 2nd edition of 100% Islay is released. As with the first edition, the whisky produced “from barley to bottle” 100% by the Kilchoman distillery is a vatting of 1st fill and refill bourbon casks, in which the whisky was matured for more than 3 years. Compared to the first edition, however, the casks are said to be somewhat older.
September 10: Kilchoman Distillery proudly announces that John MacLellan has been named Distillery Manager of the Year in the »Whisky Icons 2013 award« presented by the prestigious »Whisky Magazine«. He shares the award with Eddie McAffer of Bowmore. However, when »Whisky Magazine« announced the winners in March 2013, it turns out that Eddie McAffer is the sole winner. John MacLellan is “only” first on the so-called “shortlist”, i.e. the list of nominees who are also announced by »Whisky Magazine« in order to honour them with it. Despite all the confusion, the whole thing is a nice tribute to John’s work as distillery manager of Bunnahabhain and Kilchoman.
October 22: the first bottling for the Kilchoman Club is released. It is a 5 year old single cask bottling from a Sherry Hogshead, bottled at 59.2%. The bottle can be purchased by club members – limited to one bottle per person – for £75.00 on the Kilchoman homepage.
In 2012 the production volume reaches a new record level: 124,719 litres of pure alcohol were distilled and filled into 844 barrels. This is an increase of 8,000 litres compared to the previous year.