Kilkerran – Work In Progress 7 – Cask Strength Bourbon Wood – Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Glengyle Distillery | 54.1% (108.2 Proof) $74.99 (Here)
Color/Appearance: Unripe apricot. Sunset cloud aglow. Light themed photo in sepia. It has a good amount of cask character showing. This being only an eleven year old bourbon barrel aged single malt leads one to believe these are nice and active barrels. No coloring added, and not chill-filtered. Also, Kilkerran gets their barley floor malted at nearby Springbank and has it brought over to them for distilling and aging. So, this is whisky made simply and made well. This years label features a teal color and for me, the best part, the words “Cask Strength”.
Nose: Coastal salt, ozone, green grass, ginger, dirt, hay, farm, lemon, tangerine and rain. Give it some time and more begins to emerge. Freshly baked croissants, grape skins, pear, apple core, and moss.
Palate: Tangy drops of sunshine. So distinct and delicious. A ginger beer, white sangria, made with fine Champagne. The sangria vibe is awesome with peaches, apricots, plucots and green apples. Exotic spices from the ginger beer mix well with the effervescence and dryness of the crisp bubbly white wine. Rich mouthfeel but really vibrant, springy, and juicy. Raspberry, lemon, peat moss and salt. A little sweeter than last years, but balanced nicely with more power. It smells great, but here in the palate is where the new cask strength version really shines. I can’t stress enough how fun it is to drink this stuff. So far I have not felt the need to add any water to this. Perfect just the way it is.
Finish: Long, tingling fade out reminiscent again of white sangria, with peach and citrus. These sweeter elements give way slowly to a wonderful dryness. The wood is there providing structure but it feels so steeped in exotic fruit, that it doesn’t skew the conversation.
Overall: I nearly wet myself when I first learned that they were releasing a cask strength version of Kilkerran. This enthusiasm lead me to procure this bottle before it made it to the states. Thanks UK. My efforts were rewarded, as it is everything I imagined and more. It’s a big jump from last years version with another year of complexity and the added power that cask strength brings. If you can find one, this is a great whisky and still thankfully at a great price. Kilkerran’s status as one of my favorite whiskies is cemented in place. I can only say that you should grab this as soon as you see it. I am excited as ever for the continued development of this Campbeltown distillery. I hope the fine people at Glengyle distillery are watching as the bottles of this cask strength bourbon wood version disappear as soon as they are dropped off at the store. I hope they keep that in mind as they get ready to release their flagship twelve year old next year. I for one, would love the new twelve year old to stay the same with bourbon and sherry cask versions, but next year both at cask strength. That would be rather daring and exciting and really set them apart from other distilleries. I would also love to see some single casks released too. Allowing those of us who love Kilkerran to get the chance to explore more from this great distillery. This whisky has surely arrived but the exciting part is the journey still ahead.