I’ve had this bottle in my cabinet for years. I bought two when the Wills brothers of Kilchoman toured Europe with the 4x4 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the distillery back in 2015. For that occasion 1500 bottles of Machir Bay at cask strength were released. My first bottle did not survive long, but the second one I opened only in May 2020 for the second edition of WhisQy (Whisky in Quarantine), my virtual tastings via online stream. Contrary to today’s version of Machir Bay, this is a vatting of bourbon barrels only. It was the opener of the evening, go figure.
Powerful, smoky nose on cardboard (not an off-note), lime, lemon and charcoal. Sea breeze and ashes, overripe Jonagold apples and smoked ham. I love it.
Surprisingly creamy body, smoky and peaty from the first sip, yet with a lovely undertone of sweet versus salty versus sour. Lots of vanilla and sugar, citrus fruit (bergamot and grapefruit) and brackish water (and quite a bit indeed). Clearly young, but with a good balance. Powerful too. Liquorice and white pepper with a slightly bitter note of the wood.
The finish is wonderfully long, starts sweet but then dies a wonderful peaty death.
For me, this is Kilchoman pur sang. Excellent whisky.