Glengyle distillery, one of the three remaining distilleries in Campbeltown, has been releasing a series of single malts over the last handful of years under the Work in Progress moniker. This has given fans a way to experience the distillery's output as it grows older in preparation for an official 12 Year slated for August 2016. The seventh release last year was nominally the last in the series and the only one so far to release anything at full strength, rather than 46%. It sold out rather quickly in Europe and has become fairly hard to find in the US, despite previous releases languishing on shelves for years. Let's see if it lives up to the hype.
This whisky was presumably distilled in 2004, filled into ex-bourbon casks, then bottled at 54.1% without coloring or chill filtration.
Thanks to Florin for the sample.
Kilkerran WIP #7 Bourbon Wood Cask Strength
Nose: big, rich, and dirty - lots of earthy Glengyle character with a slightly funky lactic edge, gentle mossy peat and floral notes, American oak caramel/oak/vanilla, cinnamon, sautéed mushrooms, cured meat, orange peel, raspberry. After adding a few drops of water the malt takes center stage, the peat becomes more herbal, some chocolate comes out.
Taste: malt/wood sweetness throughout, gentle oak tannins, thick berry notes, and mossy peat come in around the middle, and black pepper near the back. After dilution the sweetness becomes more clearly malt-based, the peat tones down a bit, and some fizzy floral notes come out at the back.
Finish: mild peat, sweet malt, a tannic edge, classic Campbeltown character, gingerbread
Yup, that's what I was looking for. While this has far more cask influence than the WIP #3 I tried a while back, it retains a lot of that spirit-driven character that I love about Glengyle. While clearly a Campbeltown malt and related to Springbank, I've been impressed that the Kilkerran releases I've tried have managed to maintain their own unique character. This bodes well for the distillery's future and makes me hope that they'll continue to release younger full strength malts in addition to the upcoming 12 Year.