Kilkerran 12

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Distillery/Brand: Kilkerran | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 46% | Colour: Gold
Nose: 8.4 | Palate: 8.4 | Finish: 8.4 | Overall Score: 8.4

Review
About five years ago at my clubs’ monthly mystery tasting I decided to take with me a relatively unknown whisky. Well, unknown to most of us, that is.

It was something I picked up on a whim without really knowing anything about it or the distillery. That whisky was the Kilkerran WIP 4. Met with many a raised eyebrow and unabashed lip smacking it became an instant hit at the gathering and ultimately my obsession.

For those who know me know two things about me.

Number 1 : I have a mild case of OCD. Which means if you give me something that is numbered and part of a series then I will move mountains to make sure I have the entire collection. It’s a sickness, I admit it.

Number 2 : I am irrationally fascinated by Campbeltown whiskies. No rhyme or reason. Just am.

Now imagine my state when you put both those things together. Even more so when the spirit in question is just so damned delicious. And, thus, began my quest to collect all the WIPs.

Glengyle Distillery, makers of Kilkerran, released the WIP 1, which was a five year old whisky, as a way of sharing the spirits’ journey until it’s final form as a 12 year old. Also no doubt as a crafty means of generating revenue which is fine by me. This was, you guessed it, followed by the WIP 2 and so on until last year they released their last and final WIP (the 7) which was a stunning bourbon cask bottled at cask strength.

And, finally, around two weeks ago they released their standard entry level – the 12 year old. I have been following this journey for a while now and was understandably excited when they announced the release. After making my pre-order I somehow managed to have it with me for a tasting I hosted a couple of nights ago.

Geeks that we are we didn’t try it straight and instead decided to do a vertical with the WIP 5,6 & 7 followed by the 12.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 46%

Nose: Immediate grill charcoal. Faint coal smoke. Almost industrial diesel. Not in an overpowering way but in a way that only Campbeltown can make appealing. Himalayan pink salt. Green olives in brine. Mexican lime. Vanilla. Very mild honey. Wild heather. Dry flowers. Love the nose. There’s an old-school oiliness to this that I love.

Palate: Touch bitter. But in a good way. Vanilla. Sweet lemon. Touch of oak. Consistent layer of smoke. Wet pebbles. That salt again. Get’s sweeter mid-palate. Butterscotch. And then black pepper pricks. Solid.

Finish: Medium to long. Oak. Lindt 90% cocoa. Ceylon black tea.

Overall Comments: I love it. I love the WIP 7 a bit more but this one is quite lovely. I love it because there is an element of old-fashioned whisky making that somehow comes through it’s oiliness and the fact that it’s more savoury than sweet. Something which I really like in a whisky. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly is mine. What I appreciate even more is the highly affordable price tag. Under 40GBP in a world that has gone crazy is something to be lauded. So thank you Glengyle for not being greedy gits. And for producing this gem.

Overall Score: 8.4

Kilkerran WIP 6 Bourbon Wood

Kilkerran WIP 6 Bourbon
Distillery/Brand: Kilkerran | ABV: 46% | Region: Campbeltown | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
One of my first whiskies ever was a Springbank 10 Cask Strength and truth be told I didn’t know what hit me. In a good way. This is way before I knew my cask from a cork. Some days I still don’t but, hey.

And, thus, began my fascination with this small giant of a region, Campbeltown. Springbank led to Longrow which led to Hazelburn which led to Glen Scotia and which finally led to these work of art expressions from Glengyle Distillery, the Kilkerran Work In Progress series.

Not all whiskies from this region are great but like a father who has a favorite child I tend to forgive a lot. Luckily with the Kilkerrans there’s really nothing you need to forgive.

The first one I picked up was a WIP 4 and I remember introducing it to my whisky club who had no idea what it was. The look on their faces when they tried it for the first time was priceless. Such a young and vibrant whisky it completely blew them away.

The WIP 5 was an equally big hit with them the following year. And so when I picked up this years’ installment I couldn’t wait to put it on the tasting block!

Kilkerran opened it’s doors in 2004 so you can be sure there’s some 10 year old spirit in the WIP 6. Matured exclusively in bourbon wood and served up at 46%.

Nose: There’s a coastal briny-ness which stays with you through out but it’s balanced out by a delicate freshness that comes from young(ish) spirits. Nutty. Oily walnuts. Sweet apricots covered in sticky sugar. Green apples and vanilla with the mildest of peat.

Palate: Juicy pears and green apples. Honey drizzle almonds. Black and white peppers with a hint of lemon citrus. Lovely mouth feel. This medium bodied spirit is on point.

Finish: Medium with oily custard.

This is an excellent spirit without the frills. I love it when the integrity of the spirit stands out above all the distractions we have come to expect from this industry.

Rating: 89