Land Rover Classic has teamed up with Kilchoman Distillery, an award-winning whisky distillery on the Scottish island of Islay, to celebrate the release of its latest luxury collectible, the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition.
To commemorate the collaboration, the Kilchoman Distillery is releasing a unique limited edition whisky limited to 639 bottles.
The Works V8 Islay Edition, limited to 30 vehicles, is inspired by a Series IIa owned and operated by Land Rover co-founder Spencer Wilks, and has a variety of unique references to the original vehicle, as well as homage to the Scottish Inner Hebrides’ Isle of Islay. They contain a handcrafted personalized removable tray in the bespoke central stowage cubby constructed from vintage Kilchoman Distillery whisky casks.
Each tray has a unique 110mm wooden disc that replicates the end of a whisky cask and is constructed from a special piece of wood that displays the actual stencilled text, making each vehicle unique. To compliment the whiskey cask oak, the tray that surrounds the disc is finished in American Walnut veneer. The handcrafted surround has official 75th anniversary logo as well as the distillery in the same stenciled type. Each cup holder’s base is likewise crafted of Kilchoman whisky barrel wood.
Kilchoman Distillery has a lengthy family history with Land Rover. Spencer Wilks, the Managing Director of The Rover Group and one of the founders of Land Rover, is Kathy Wills’s grandfather.
Kathy Wills and her husband Anthony carefully selected the casks used in the rare ‘639’ whisky, which are a mix of bourbon barrels and sherry casks. As a result, the whisky has a lot of rich flavors and complexity, which reflects the depth of Land Rover’s connection to Islay. The whisky is a limited edition of 639 bottles; these digits were part of Spencer Wilks’ original Series IIa registration, which is now part of the Land Rover Classic Collection.
The original Land Rover was created on Wilks’ Laggan Estate on the Isle of Islay (where Kathy and her husband now live). Spencer Wilks was spotted driving a significantly modified Rover prototype around the island in 1947 by a local gamekeeper, who exclaimed, “That must be a Land-Rover sir!” The moniker stayed, and that prototype paved the way for the Land Rover Series I to be released.
“We are delighted to announce this unique partnership with the Kilchoman Distillery,” said Paul Barritt, Director of Land Rover Classic. Working with Spencer Wilks’ family and having their creative influence creating the Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition is incredibly precious to us. The Kilchoman crew collaborated with Land Rover Classic to build a magnificent handcrafted Defender out of authentic cask wood that honors the island where the Land Rover moniker was founded. Kilchoman devotes the same care and devotion to their award-winning whiskies that Land Rover Classic does to its luxury collectible vehicles. We have created appealing limited editions with the unveiling of the ‘639’ that will appeal to connoisseurs and aficionados of both vehicles and whisky.”
“It has been very special for the teams at Kilchoman and Land Rover Classic to work together on these projects given our long-standing family connection,” said Kathy Wills, co-founder of Kilchoman. It was a wonderful moment when the Land Rover Classic team returned my grandfather’s Series IIa to Islay and the distillery, and I’m happy to see how the design features it inspired have affected their current Classic Defender.”
The Islay Edition will be limited to 30 units, all of which will be Station Wagons, with 17 available in a 90 short wheelbase and 13 in a seven-seat long wheelbase 110 version.
The Classic Defender Works V8 Islay Edition starts at £230,000 for the 90 and goes up to £245,000 for the 110.