Islay’s youngest distillery, established in 2005, is also the closest the island has to what American’s would call a craft producer. Rather than concerning itself with output, Kilchoman is dedicated to process. A number of distinctions mark the operation as unique. It’s the only true farm distillery in the country, utilizing grain grown and malted on site, and the liquid runs off the smallest stills in all of Scotland. All of this wouldn’t be worth a damn if it didn’t result in a truly exceptional whisky. Judge for yourself on the Premium Tour, which includes a tasting of the core range (the 100 percent Islay is estate-produced, from grain to glass), along with specialty cask maturations. Past one-offs have utilized sauternes, madeira and port barrels.
Power move: Just over a mile northeast of the distillery is Saligo Bay, home to Islay’s most stunning beaches. Bring a bottle (and a jacket) for a memorable sunset at the Sleeping Giant, a jagged rock formation jutting out like a dragon scale from the surrounding sand.