Kilkerran – Work In Progress 4

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Distillery/Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
ABV: 46%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 23
Finish: 22
Balance: 23

Review
I decided to enter this particular expression from Campbeltown at our Malt Society’s blind tasting awards and luckily it was met with many a pleasantly raised eyebrow!

The nose is a lovely, crisp bouquet of honey, vanilla and green apples with a sprinkle of green wild berries atop freshly prepared waffles. One of the cleanest and most arresting noses of late.

The full bodied delivery is at first a touch peppery but then the honey and barley, mixed in with a couple of mint sprigs, balance everything out magnificently. Quite possibly one of the tastiest drams I’ve had recently.

The finish is long and oily and further fuels my fascination with malts from this region.

Rating: 91

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Glendronach Cask Strength – Batch No. 1

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Distillery/Brand: GlenDronach
Region: Speyside
ABV: 54.8%
Colour: Old Sauternes

Nose: 24
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
I am increasingly impressed by the expressions this distillery produces and this one is no exception. This cask strength Oloroso and PX matured dram is an absolute beauty.

The powerful nose is as heady as it is delicious. The glorious oak envelopes a thick slice of nutty orange fudge sprinkled with a generous layer of raisins and smothered in caramel. This is finished off with a gentle drizzle of grated ginger.

The palate is not for the faint hearted. The underlying oak sits in complete balance with burnt citrus which is mixed with a rich dark chocolate and and equally dark fruits. All this is served with a dollop of marmalade infused with clove and cinnamon.

The long and oily finish is woody with a touch of clove and stays with you for ever.

So good!

Rating: 93

Connemara 12 Peated

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Distillery/Brand: Connemara
ABV: 40%
Colour: Sunlight


Nose:
22
Taste: 22
Finish: 21
Balance: 21

Review
Did the Irish invent whisky? I don’t really know for sure. But I do know they’re pretty good at this game and this peated Connemara is an example of that.

The delicate honey and sugarcane nose is quite fresh and wafts lazily over the smoky peat on the bottom. Sway it gently and up comes a zing of bright lemon. Very playful.

You know the distiller has done his job when the nose is in sync with the delivery. The honey, sugarcane and lemon on the palate are testament to that!

The minty medium finish is a touch on the shorter side but over all this is quite a pleasant dram.

Rating: 86

BenRiach 12

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Distillery/Brand: BenRiach
Region: Speyside
ABV: 43%
Colour: Sunlight

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 21
Balance: 21

Review
I once had the misfortune of tasting a 20 year old and vowed never to touch BenRiach again. Luckily I changed my mind and decided to forgive the distillery and uncorked this 12 year old expression.

The first nose is immediate bourbon which is quite delightfully interesting. Instantly transporting you to a carnival of aromas where vanilla, coconut, strong caramel, cotton candy and ripe bananas each offer you a ride if you’re willing to go along.

The delicate honey on the palate has a touch of spice on a smudge of marmalade. Un-complex. Simple.

The medium finish is oily with a biscuit and fennel after taste. An easy early evening dram if you ask me.

Rating: 86

Talisker Storm

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Distillery/Brand: Talisker
Region: Island
ABV: 45.8%
Colour: Young Sauternes

Nose: 22
Taste: 21
Finish: 21
Balance: 20

Review
Talisker created quite a bit of buzz around this particular No Age Statement bottling with many speculating that this would be the complete Skye malt. But it was not to be…

The typical salty Talisker nose is at first comforting as it brings with it the traditional Skye notes like lemon zest, melted butter with herbs drizzled on a salmon and cream pie soaked in brine. I quite liked the nose.

The palate, on the other hand, is a touch disappointing for me. While the delivery is quite intensely spicy with a lemon honey twang it is the presence of something mysteriously bitter which throws me off towards the end. Quite unsettling if you ask me.

The oily finish, unfortunately, retains the nagging bitterness which I can only hope later editions address.

Rating: 84