Kilkerran, otherwise known as Glengyle, has been leading up to this moment since the distillery was first opened in 2004. The Work in Progress series chronicled the development of the spirit, all with an eye towards a 12 Year set for 2016 that would establish a regular, standard release. Given the quality of the WIPs, this were rather high expectations for this.
This is bottled at the standard 46% without coloring or chill filtration.
Thanks to Michael Kravitz for the sample.
Kilkerran 12 Year
Nose: earthy/pine-y peat, coastal, fresh herbs/pine, old motor oil, leather, dry malt, sherry, soy sauce, and cured meat around the edges, vanilla and bourbon cask. After adding a few drops of water it becomes softer, with the malt balancing the peat, some treated lumber notes come out, and the sherry is mostly pushed into the background.
Taste: opens with moderate malt sweetness backed by leather, which slowly transforms into dry peat from the middle back, sherry, vanilla, and black pepper in the background. After dilution it remains largely the same, with some acidity coming out and maybe a little less punch and definition.
Finish: a little sharp, malt, peat, a touch of sherry and oak
The good: this is an extremely competent Campbeltown malt at a respectable price that isn't a special/limited edition. I think it's a worthy match for Springbank 10 Year and might get the nod from me over the other entry-level malts from its sister distillery next door. The bad: it feels less unique than previous releases in the WIP series, which had character that clearly set them apart from Springbank. In other words, it's good, but it's sort of generically Campbeltown good. Blind I might have pegged it as either Springbank or Glen Scotia. Water does it no favors, stripping down a lot of the complexity and leaving it even more generic.
So while this is a perfectly good whisky that I would have no compunction about drinking, it's also not one that I particularly want a whole bottle of. Thankfully there is also an 8 year old, cask strength Kilkerran hitting the market which I have somewhat higher hopes for.
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