Whisky of the year shortlist

Whisky of the Year 2017

The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year tasting is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the whisky calendar. We ask a number of TWE staff to choose their favourite whiskies, which we whittle down to the most popular eight bottles. There are some rules, however. Each whisky must be:
- below £60
- not cask strength
- an ongoing release
- a Scottish single malt

We pour the whiskies, our customers taste them all – blind – and then vote for their favourite and runner-up. And this year, the winning whisky is Kilchoman Machir Bay 2016 – a delicious, fresh, fruity Islay single malt.

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2016

The Winner

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2016

Kilchoman
Machir Bay 2016

Named after the most spectacular beach on Islay, Machir Bay is the flagship of the Kilchoman range. It's aged in ex-bourbon barrels, which brings out vanilla and toffee sweetness, then finished in ex-oloroso sherry casks, adding fruit and spice. If you've never tried an Islay whisky before, you must give this one a go – it's fresh and fruity with a rich layer of wood smoke adding character and complexity. A deserved winner of The Whisky Exchange's Whisky of the Year.

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Tasting Notes By Stuart Peskett

glass of Kilchoman Machir Bay 2016
  • Nose: Enticing aromas of wood smoke, barley and lemon oil. Clean and fruity, with richness in the form of vanilla custard and toffee.
  • Palate: Whistle-clean, this is alive with zesty citrus fruit and aromatic peat with the balancing sweetness of vanilla fudge along with notes of apple and pear and a sprinkling of black pepper.
  • Finish: The rich wood smoke is well balanced by the clean citrus notes.
  • Comment: Lip smacking and refreshing, this is a delicious Islay single malt that is not only clean and fruity, but has the classic Islay peat character. A great introduction to Islay whisky.

The Range

  • Kilchoman 2008 Vintage 7 Year Old
    Kilchoman 2008 Vintage 7 Year Old
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  • Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2010 Vintage Sherry Cask Bot.2016
    Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2010 Vintage Sherry Cask Bot.2016
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  • Kilchoman 100% Islay 2010 Vintage / 6th Edition
    Kilchoman 100% Islay 2010 Vintage / 6th Edition
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  • Kilchoman Sanaig
    Kilchoman Sanaig
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  • Kilchoman Saligo Bay
    Kilchoman Saligo Bay
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  • Kilchoman 2006 / 10 Year Old / TWE Exclusive
    Kilchoman 2006 / 10 Year Old / TWE Exclusive
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About Kilchoman

Kilchoman (pronounced 'kil-HO-man') was established in Islay in 2005, with a mission to make Islay at the heart of everything it does. Its first single malt was released in 2009, and Kilchoman hasn't looked back, with a variety of whiskies that have impressed both critics and drinkers alike. It released its 100% Islay bottling in 2011, with every step of the process local to the island, while 2013 saw the launch of its sherry-cask-matured Loch Gorm.

Kilchoman was founded by Anthony Wills, who said he was 'delighted' that one of his whiskies has been named TWE Whisky of the Year. He said: 'Ten years ago, I never envisaged that we'd have such a demand and people commenting so favourably about our whisky. I thought it would take much longer!'

Kilchoman distillery images

The Runner-up

Ben Nevis 10 Year Old

Ben Nevis 10 Year Old

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl / 46%
Ben Nevis 10 Year Old was hugely popular at the Whisky of the Year tasting, and it’s easy to see why. A full-bodied dram with big flavours of tropical fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of peat smoke, this is a great Highland whisky. We’re pretty sure the liquid is older than 10 years, too – it’s very complex.
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The Shortlist

See this year's Other Winners

More Whisky of the Year Winners