Kilkerran 8 Years Old Cask Strength

Review 2017-043 «Specifics» Single malt • Vintage 2017 • Matured for 8 years in bourbon casks • 56.2% Alcohol • Non-chill filtered • Natural colour • Glengyle Distillery (owned by J & A Mitchell) • Campbeltown • Scotland • Limited availability (±9,000 bottles) • Still available (price €55-60) • Whiskybase #94272

STORY. After several years of work-in-progress, last year the first official bottling came out from Glengyle Distillery, the already renowned 12-year-old Kilkerran. This year the follow-up release is already there. They have selected for us a cask strength version of 8 years that was completely matured in bourbon casks. We were already able to test some bourbon cask matured version from their Works of Progress, although I think this one is a little bit different. See for yourself!


APPEARANCE. Classic and original design, colour of the contents looks like golden hay and is definitely natural coloured.

NOSE. It starts sharp, but also fresh, with citrus fruits and lots of ginger. Quite punchy, I would say. If you leave the bottle open a bit longer, the peat becomes more pronounced. Soon after, roots and sour apples are coming to the front, which we also found in the 12 year old version. Then lemon skin, the beautiful smell of burned caramel, and honey along with a slight buttery creaminess. (water) This brings it more towards milk chocolate, while the bourbon cask influence is coming forcefully through with sweet fruits (think of tinned pineapple, tangerines juice) and hints of marshmallows. This needs some time to breathe to gain complexity, however, still the peat remains the dominant component.

TASTE. The palate reveals peat and some salt showing a more coastal influence. Bonfire, ginger, and a slight sweetness on the back with barbecued paprika and pineapple. It is not overly complex though. (water) More earth, mud, roots, ginger and bonfires. Slightly metallic, quite dirty, bit fishy and very farm-like. A bourbon-infused fruitiness comes through after some time, but the peaty/earthy side stays in front.

VERDICT. It is good, for sure, but after the brilliant 12-year-old from last year, we have such high expectations that this new release is a little bit disappointing. It has got balance, but the peat is just too loud to bring out the complexity of the distillery’s character. Moreover, I am not too sure that bourbon casks bring out the best of Kilkerran (but that is of course just my opinion). The distillery still delivers high quality compared to many others, and we will keep watching them (rumours have already indicated a next release matured in sherry casks).

Recommended for experiencing an chilly and rainy summer evening at the farm roasting marshmallows in a bonfire.

«What others say»

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 86.89 (123 votes)
  • “I’ll admit, not the best Kilkerran – but it is still very good indeed”
  • “This is a bit one-dimensional whisky with too strong cask influence”
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