Kilkerran WIP6 Bourbon (blind)

"I should have already known that the 12-year-old would be that good... What a great pre-dram, so-called "work-in-progress", apparently most work was already done"

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In 2000 Glengyle distillery was revived 75 years after production stopped by the great-great nephew of the original founder, William Mitchell. The same family has run Springbank distillery for decades and has proved that great spirit can still be produced in modern times. Glengyle could not be used as the name for the whisky, since Glen Scotia obtained the right in the past, so they came up with Kilkerran, the original Gaelic name of Campbelltown. During the waiting-time until the release of the first bottling with age-statement, they released intermediate bottlings marked as work-in-progress, matured in either bourbon or sherry casks. The subject of this review is the 6th release that was solely matured in bourbon cask. I absolutely adored the 12-year-old bottling (score: 89), which is a mix of bourbon and sherry casks, so high expectations!

Nose

Oh this might something I like. It directly feels young but matured, light but complex, fresh but dirty, do you follow me? It reminds me directly of Kilkerran, or any of the other new high flying distilleries. Freshly pressed pear and apple juice surrounded by swirls of fruity smoke with a flint of sulphur. There are many fresh leaves, herbs, grass, sunshine-warmed sand, maybe even some flowers like bergamot. This feels so natural, right in my alley. And so less cask influence, difficult to say which cask it has been in. Then some honey, salty Dutch liquorice, becoming more coastal over time. There is a lovely sweetness behind it. Maybe orange juice, fresh apricots, fresh plums, and sour cherries. I think there could be some bourbon casks involved, but its influence only serves the spirit. Rightfully. What I love so much is the dirtiness that runs through everything. Very very good spirit, I can’t wait to taste this. 

Taste

Substantial and complex. The peat smoke is much more present and it is of a rare complexity. It swirls around your tongue bringing flashes of fresh autumn fruits (apples, pears, plums) that have just been put on a Indian summer barbecue. Beech sand, wet stone, freshly cut grass, parsley, marjoram, chives, and sea salt. The age shows slightly more on the palate, I think somewhere between 5 and 7 years, but they made already so splendid that it was totally right to release this bottling. The aftertaste gives orange skin, some grapefruit, more herbs, lemons, and a lovely fresh peat. I will add no more. Just: sláinte mhath!

Overall

This is extremely to my liking with good complexity, really good integration of the smoke, restraint cask influence and enough freshness to counteract the dirtiness. Why did I not guess that this was Kilkerran during the blind tasting then? Ha, good question! Since I knew we had a Kilkerran work-in-progress last year, I thought that it would be very unlikely to also have one this year in the line-up. So I went for another fairly new distillery, Wolfburn. So wrong, obviously, but I still enjoyed the dram :-).

What others thought

Competition day #10

Kilkerran WIP6 Bourbon

Whiskybase: 86.14 (320 votes) Contestants: 7.4/10

This sample was part of the

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
20%
Peat/smoke
45%
Nose 88%
Taste 89%
Balance 88.5%
Depth 88%
Finish 88.5%
Score