Last week we re-visited last year’s, 2013, expression of the Kilchoman Machir Bay. With each year the small Islay distillery continues the journey of this fantastic single malt by releasing a new bottling. Today we are blessed to be sat with this year’s bottling, the Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014.

To re-cap, Kilchoman’s Machir Bay, the distilleries core expression, was first launched in 2012. The single malt from the small farm distillery created a huge buzz amongst the whisky community and went on to win the prestigious IWSC 2012 Gold Medal – Best in Class. Since then, the distillery has released a new bottling every year, allowing fans to accompany this single malt through its ageing process.

In last week’s tasting review I compared the 2012, one of my favourite whiskies of that year, to the 2013 bottling. Despite the 2013 still maintain a strong character; my preference still sided with the highly revered 2012. So how will the 2014 fare?

The Machir Bay 2014 is a vatting of 5 and 6 year old ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry butts 46%ABV. According to John MacLellan, Distillery Manager at Kilchoman, the sherry butts give the whisky a desired taste that has proven to be this drams unique selling point.

The team at Kilchoman aim for Machir Bay to be the distilleries flagship product, hoping that it will become a staple choice amongst whisky connoisseurs around the world.

Anthony Wills, Managing Director at Kilchoman, says; “it is important that we are able to offer our distribution partners a consistently available product while also offering Kilchoman followers the opportunity to enjoy the development of our spirit”

John MacLellan, added; “We are delighted that each release of Machir Bay shows a little more cask maturation than the previous one….the 2014 is no exception”

So yet again I sit with Kilchoman’s prized whisky, the Machir Bay. But how will the 2014 compare to its younger siblings?

On the nose is a summery mixture of fruit, heavily leaning towards a more dominant citrus kick. The classic character of Islay peat is also heavily present which balances well with a slight vanilla aroma.

On the palate again those fruits dominate whilst the vanilla deepens bring forward a welcomed sweetness; possibly gifted to the dram by those Oloroso sherry butts.

As with the 2012 and the 2013 Machir Bay, the finish is long and lingering; less harsh than the 2013.

Overall the Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 is another positive step towards something truly remarkable and again displays this small, farm distilleries talent for distilling superb whisky. The 2014, is for me more well balanced and shows more clearly the development of character that has taken place than that of the 2013.

It’s hard to say, without a dram of 2012 sitting before, me whether the 2014 is indeed more favourable; after all the 2012 left a big impression on me. But what is clear, is that the Machir Bay 2014 is a truly sublime dram and is just a glimpse of the superiority we can expect to see from this distillery in coming years.