Timeline 2014

  • January: two vatting tanks are installed in Warehouse No. 1. In the future they will be used to marry the barrels for the bigger editions, like “Machir Bay” and “100% Islay”, before bottling. Previously, the company relied on the help of Bruichladdich, where the barrels were emptied and married, and then returned to the Kilchoman bottling hall in large plastic containers. Improvements were also made to the malt transport system from the Malting Floor to the Kiln. The bottling hall was equipped with a new machine for corking the bottles and new conveyor belts, as the distillery puts it: a significant improvement from the early days when bottles were still filled with the help of a teapot (!).


6 January 2014: Installation of the vatting tanks
The vatting tanks in Warehouse No 1
New equipment in the bottling hall.
  • From the end of January: After numerous bottlings that had been matured in bourbon casks and/or oloroso sherry casks, Kilchoman brought another cask type into play from the beginning of 2014 with some single cask bottlings for national markets worldwide (USA, Japan, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, France, Taiwan): Finishings in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. Casks of the sweetest of all sherry varieties are popular in the whisky industry for finishing, as they not only lend the maturing distillate more complexity and depth, but also fruity-sweet notes.
    From the end of the year, further new cask types were to follow with the first bottlings from the Port wine cask and the Madeira cask, and the journey towards the countless Kilchoman bottlings from the most diverse “experimental casks” had begun.
  • 18 February: Kilchoman announces that Laura MacAffer, who had worked as the distillery’s Visitor Centre Manager for 6 years, will not be resuming her work at Kilchoman following the birth of her daughter Amira last year.
Anthony Wills and Laura MacAffer
  • 5 March: Kilchoman announces the launch of its first Travel Retail Exclusive bottling: “Coull Point” (some bottles were already available since the end of 2013). Continuing the tradition of naming their whiskies after landmarks near the distillery, “Coull Point” is a rugged headland just half a mile north of Machir Bay. The release is exclusively available from “World of Whiskies” duty free shops at airports across the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The recommended retail price is £ 44.99
  • 8 April: the 2nd edition of “Loch Gorm” is officially released. Limited to 17,100 bottles, the whisky distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2014 matured exclusively in fresh Oloroso Sherry Butts. The renunciation of the finish in fresh Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads, which distinguished the first Loch Gorm edition, results in a significantly less sherry-toned whisky.
  • 12 May: The 4th edition of “100% Islay” is released. For the annual release of the slightly weaker peated whisky, produced entirely on site “from barley to bottle”, 40 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels were bottled this time, 32 of them 5 years old and eight of them 4 years old. The alcohol strength is again 50.0 %, the bottle price in the Kilchoman Distillery Shop is £64.99.
  • 29 May: The Kilchoman Open Day at Fèis Ìle 2014 is again packed with programme items: special tours, tutored tastings, warehouse tastings in Conisby, “Be a Bottler” and of course plenty of food and drink.
    The “Fèis Ìle 2014 Bottling” is a Kilchoman world first: a whisky distilled on 1 July 2009, which was matured for over 4 years in two 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels and then finished for 3 months in a Fino Sherry Butt. The 525 bottles were bottled at cask strength on 20.5.2014, the selling price is £ 79.50. All bottles were sold out on the first day.
  • May: Islay Pipe Band Bottling 2014. Kilchoman has been supporting the Islay Pipe Band since 2012 with an annual charity bottling. A very special cask was chosen for the 2014 bottling: an Octave Cask with the number 581/2010, filled on 7 October 2010 and bottled on 22 May 2014 for Fèis Ìle. Due to the small size of the Octave Cask, only 126 bottles were filled in cask strength with 60.5% abv.
  • 17 August: With the announcement of a “Port Cask Matured Limited Release”, which will be released at the beginning of September, Kilchoman opens a series of annual limited wine cask bottlings. It is a full maturation in Ruby Port casks that were filled with Kilchoman New Make in 2011. With a full maturation preferring Anthony Wills finishes, the aim is to show the full influence of the port casks on the maturing Kilchoman distillate. Due to high demand and limited bottle numbers, sales of the bottling in the Kilchoman Distillery shop are limited to one bottle per person. The price there is £68.
    Anthony Wills said of the bottling: “We experimented with a number of different cask types to see which ones worked for a full maturation term and the ruby port casks are exceptional at just 3 years old. The palate has a wonderful balance of port influence but maintains much of Kilchoman’s signature characteristics”.
  • September: European Land Rover Tour. Peter and James Wills, two of Anthony Wills’ three sons and responsible for marketing at Kilchoman, went on a marketing tour with the Kilchoman Land Rover that took them through eight European countries. They presented the Kilchoman Range in whisky shops in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France.
    On the occasion of the tour, an exclusive whisky was bottled: a “Machir Bay” at cask strength, whose 1,518 bottles were sold exclusively during the tour.
  • 3 October: The “Original Cask Strength Release” will be released for the first time in the distillery’s online shop on this day. It is a vatting of 5 years old ex-bourbon barrels, bottled as the name suggests in barrel strength of 59.2% alcohol. The circulation is 9,200 bottles.
  • 2 to 15 November: UK Land Rover Tour 2014. After James and Peter Wills had toured continental Europe with the Kilchoman Land Rover in September, George Wills, the eldest of the three sons and responsible for the home market in the Kilchoman marketing team, went on a marketing tour of Great Britain in November. For 14 days, he presented the Kilchoman Range in 13 different locations. As on the European Tour, a cask strength Machir Bay was sold as an exclusive tour bottle on the UK Landrover Tour.
George Wills in front of the Kilchoman Land Rover
  • December 1st: The third Club Release, which can be purchased exclusively for members of the Kilchoman Club on this day in the distillery’s online shop for GBP 75, is something very special. It is the first Kilchoman aged in Madeira casks. Distilled on 11 February 2010 and bottled on 24 November 2014, the whisky was stored over 4 years in two fresh Madeira casks. The circulation is 610 bottles, bottled in a cask strength of 58.4% abv.
    Anthony Wills writes about this release: »We filled a small number of Madeira casks in early 2010 as a bit of an experiment and we are very happy with the results; the strong, robust Madeira maturation has certainly made its presence felt, that said the spirit retains a lot of the classic Kilchoman characteristics. I wanted to offer our members something they wouldn’t have tried from us before. It’s a shame we couldn’t have made more bottles available but we need to retain some stock for future releases.«
  • At the end of the year the distillery can announce a new record: for the first time more than 1.000 casks were filled in one year. The number of bottles sold was estimated at about 150.000.