Kilkerran, from the Glengyle distillery. Why not call it Glenglye? Because there was another Glengyle in Campbeltown, and we’re trying to keep things all tickity-boo and working, alright? Otherwise we’d be keeping things confusing.
Kilkerran is the new kid in class. The interesting one who has a clean slate. Any flaws they have been viewed as interesting. Do they have a limp? Maybe they got it from basketball. Do they have old pants? Maybe a bald spot? Doesn’t matter, it only makes them more interesting.
In the past few years, we’ve been given teasers to Kilkerran. Their Work in Progress lineup has come out with multiple coloured tubes, each showing off on various whisky cabinets and bars. We’ve recently seen that they have a regular release, the 12, as well as their own younger cask strength version, which is reminiscent of how Lagavulin does their thing (though the flavour profiles are of course different).
So today we have an interesting side-by-side. On the one hand, we have a sign of where the Kilkerran Work-In-Progress lineup split, with some of the whisky staying in ex-bourbon casks and some going to the fruitier side with ex-sherry casks. In addition, we saw cask strength versions popping up as well. The tests and free public marketing research under the guise of more options. We’re onto you Glengyle, if that is your real name! (It is). Also, I found out you were peated the other day! J’accuse! Maybe?
So let’s see how these tastes, shall we?
Kilkerran WIP 7 Sherry Wood
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Number of Bottles: 12,000
Colour: 2.5Y 7/8
Nose: Saltwater taffy, nectarine, dried leaves, gravel
Nice amount of brine and caramel going on. Mixes really well and that dominates the flavour.
Visit Boston if you have a chance. Not just because of how they say taffy.
Sweet, rounded out by some earth. More earth as time goes on. Maybe a bit too much earth now. Granted I love seeds and used to work with cement, so… I could be biased.
Taste: Mushroom, strawberry, grass, brown butter
This has spent some time in a sherry cask, that’s for certain from the flavour profile. Also certain from the label. Hot takes from me today!
The earth connects nicely to the nose, so if you’re one of those people like me who enjoys a consistent flavour from one place to the next, then its time to celebrate. Goes from there with red fruits, yet not overpowering.
Finish: Brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger, strawberry
You know how breakfast is pretending you have to eat healthy and then realizing that you just eat cake and not vegetables for breakfast most of your life until you hit 30 and your body cacks out? Yeah, the flavour profile here is that traditional breakfast, albeit with some ginger to stop you from dying sooner.
These are the types of thoughts that keep me from being at the top of the whisky review groups.
Conclusion: A dram that’s on the cusp of having too much sherry influence. A bit more and it’d be hard to taste that Kilkerran spirit which, based on my previous reviews, is spice, butter, and grass. So is this amping that flavour or taking over? A question for the ages. Or at least the right now. Or back then.
I like spice. I like sweets. And I don’t mind earth, though some of the nose takes on a bit too much. This isn’t a sherry bomb, but it is fun to sip on. And probably a good time to release these, all vatted up and what not.
Kilkerran WIP 7 Bourbon Wood Cask Strength
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Number of Bottles: 6,000
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Butter, red licorice, floral, vanilla, apple
Butter? Check. Some sweet, potentially corn syrup vibes? Hell yes. This is an ex-bourbon Kilkerran. Again my ability to read the label is spot on!
However, where a non-cask strength would end there, leaving me in penny candy heaven (pennies were 1/100th of a dollar, and you could buy cheap candy with them when I was a kid #eldermillenial), this instead has some of the vanilla and apple, floral aspect to it.
Taste: Apple pie, anise, grassy, basil, vanilla milkshake
And here we have what I’d eat for lunch if I didn’t feel like having the number 5 in the tens spot of my age. Earth comes out as spice and herbs, it’s creamier, and there’s even a hint of anise that most people enjoy but won’t admit to.
Finish: Cinnamon, caramel, fennel, hazelnut, nectarine, cocoa
Spice, more spice, and cocoa, fruit and caramel. Like Nutella? Then you may like this, as it kills far less orangutuans to be made. Some would even say zero.
I’m a sucker for sweets and spice. I love this. You may miss the earth that seemed to take exit stage right and stuff right here.
Conclusion: I can see why this was recommended to me. I had not had the chance to try one yet, and I find that the very sweet, buttery spirit takes on more with extra abv. It’s grassier, more floral, and has more nuance.
I know, what a surprise, that thing I’ve been saying for a long time. More alcohol means happier times.
However, I think this really shines on all the hard work that the folks at Glengyle have done. While I have a hard time remembering specific names, flavour profiles, and the like, I enjoy that KIlkerran has, based on my reviews, a consistent direction of growth and flavour profile.
Now to see where it goes from here.
Scotch review #979-980, Campbeltown review #49-50, Whisky Network review #1536-1537