Distillery/Brand: Kilkerran | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 54.1% | Colour: Sunlight
Nose: 23 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 24 | Rating: 95
If you read my stuff you know I have had this fascination with Campbeltown whiskies for the longest time. And, as I’ve said a million times, there is literally no rationale for that.
However, it’s a good fascination to have I feel. Springbank keeps me quite suitably entertained thanks to Longrow and, of course, Springbank itself. Though, Hazelburn needs to try harder.
Glengyle, makers of Kilkerran, are the other reason why I’m still holding on to the Campbeltown fetish. I came across Kilkerran when they released WIP 4 and I remember introducing it to my whisky club here who had not yet heard of this distillery. The raised eyebrows and lip smacking that followed was testament to the spirit inside.
The WIP, or Work In Progress, is a good way of showing to the general consumer the journey of a whisky as it matures through the years until becoming standard. It is also a smart way of generating some much needed revenue as time goes by.
The very first Kilkerran was released as a five year old whisky under the WIP 1 label way back in 2009. Since then every year they have released a subsequently numbered release. Till WIP 4 there was only a bourbon maturation but WIP 5 onwards there has been a Sherry and Bourbon Oak split.
I think it’s a nice way of seeing how the whisky is coming along and especially nice to compare it alongside the different maturations. Alas, this year is the last of the WIPs since 2016 will see the spirit reach 12 years of age and be considered the ‘standard’ bottling of this awesome distillery.
I have pretty much tried them all, except for WIP 1, and have been keenly noticing how the whisky has been evolving while at the same time establishing it’s signature style.
However, the one that I was most interested in was this years’ Bourbon Cask release because it was the first Cask Strength of the series. And if you know me you know that saying ‘Cask Strength’ in front of me is like saying ‘Injured Atlantic Fur seal’ in front of a Great White Shark. Me being the shark, of course.
My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at cask strength of 54.1%
Nose: Wet pebbles. Limestone. Sand. Crisp barley. Hint of warm milk. Vanilla. Mild herbs. Touch of cardboard. Drying for some reason even though there’s no wine here. Almonds. Baby ginger. Quite like this nose. There’s some quality wood and distillate at work here. 23/25
Palate: Citrus. Orange blossom. Cointreau. Cardamom. White peppers. Coffee. Vanilla. Chocolate. What perfect weight here. Get those wet pebbles again. Starts of savory and then takes on a nice sweetness. 24/25
Finish: Very long. Quite dry. Oak. Fresh grass. Coats your mouth with honey. Very pleasing sweetness. 24/25
Overall Comments: This is a beautifully constructed whisky. I’m a sucker for good old fashioned whisky making. Good distillate cut right. Good quality wood. Optimum storage conditions. Everything just working towards making this one of the greats of the coming few years. Let’s just hope they continue doing what they are doing and not one day plan on sending their whisky to space as a distraction.
Yes, you Ardbeg. You!