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A Trip to Spain: Visiting Our Sherry Cask Supplier

March 14, 2023

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder & Master Distiller, has always placed great importance on sourcing casks of the highest quality.  This is precisely what he obtains from José y Miguel Martín, whose sherry casks are always of exceptional quality.

In February 2023, Kathy and Anthony went on a trip to Spain to visit Miguel Martín, our sherry cask supplier since the distillery was founded in 2005.  Over the years, a great working relationship has flourished, and Miguel Martín consistently provides sherry casks of outstanding quality.  During the visit Kathy and Anthony had the opportunity to spend some time on-site with Miguel and meet some of the individuals involved in the family business, from the team crafting the casks in the cooperage to the people producing and maturing the sherry wines in the bodegas.

The visit provided a glimpse of the passion and enthusiasm that the José y Miguel Martín team have for creating the highest quality casks.  From sourcing the best American and European oak to the meticulous process of constructing the highest quality casks on-site, to exploring and learning more about the production of different sherry wines, the trip was very successful and enjoyable for Kathy & Anthony and only deepened their appreciation for what Miguel and his team do.  And of course, tasting the different sherries along the way was definitely a highlight.  Anthony now has his eye on some other sherry cask types to experiment with at Kilchoman!

Family Business

Anthony and Kathy Wills founded Kilchoman in 2005.  As the business grew, their three sons, George, James and Peter, came on board. Kilchoman has remained an independently owned and family run business, which is fairly unique in the whisky industry.

Anthony is delighted to be able to source his sherry casks from José y Miguel Martín, which is also a family run business.  It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with Miguel, who is the second generation in his family business, as well as other family members including his nephews.

“I always enjoy working with family run businesses.   The passion, commitment and work ethic is something you don’t always see at large multinational companies.   Miguel has a vision for his business which is similar to mine.   Always produce quality products and be one step ahead of the competition”,

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder

The Cooperage 

At Kilchoman we buy our casks directly from source whenever possible to ensure the casks are of a consistently high quality.  Being able to take a step further back and learn more about the oak being sourced and the process of how the casks are made was fascinating.  Seeing the coopers at work and learning more about the traditional craft, leaves you with a deep appreciation of their expertise and again highlighted that the sherry casks we obtain are crafted with exceptional quality at the forefront.

Traceability is something we often talk about, particularly with our 100% Islay releases which are produced from barley grown on our own farm.  It is also something that is being further developed by Jose y Miguel Martín, with the aim of developing a system to enable them to trace the oak back to the location of the forest, identify which cooper crafted each individual cask and the maturation details of the sherry in each cask.

Oloroso Sherry Casks – Loch Gorm

Our Loch Gorm release is exclusively matured in oloroso sherry casks from José y Miguel Martín.   These American oak butts are shipped fully intact from their bodegas in Jerez all the way to Islay.  By not breaking the casks down for transportation, it ensures that casks arrive at the distillery in the best possible condition ready for us to fill.

The 2024 edition of Loch Gorm was distilled in 2014 and matured in oloroso sherry butts.  We use butts for Loch Gorm with the aim of maturing over a longer period of time to give us the balance and depth between the distillery character with the sherry flavours from the casks.  This year’s release has an abundance of rich spices and toffee notes – click here for more info.



Visitor Centre: Tours, Tastings and Lunches

After a very busy start to the season and another successful Fèis Ìle behind us, we are busy focusing on plans for Summer 2024.    In addition to our usual tours, we have some special experiences to take place from July 22nd to August 19th.  The first of these is…

July 12, 2024