Review: Kilkerran Work in Progress

Kilkerran

Kilkerran – Work in Progress Batch 6, Bourbon Wood

Campbeltown used to be “the whisky capital of the world” but these days it’s perhaps unique for having more whiskies than distilleries. Glen Scotia ticks along in relative obscurity, while Springbank produces – hydra-like – Longrow, Hazelburn, Springbank (natch) and now Kilkerran. OK, so Kilkerran’s stills are just down the road in the reactivated Glengyle distillery, but in many ways it’s an adjunct to Springbank, using barley from their maltings, matured in their warehouses and bottled on their premises. The similarity in character is evident too – it certainly feels like part of the same family. Happy news if you like Springbank’s independent and old-school approach.

So this is – I assume – the final “work in progress” batch before the first official 12-year-old release scheduled for 2016. Great value for money and with a lovely pink label too!

Nose: Campbeltown. Earthy and nutty: cornflakes with oil and vegetal (almost seaweedy) peat. Maybe Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or Frosties, but let’s not argue about it. Sweet and yeasty too, with lemons and faint tropical fruits.
Taste: Oily mouthfeel. It starts sweet but rapidly dries. There’s vanilla from the bourbon cask, but then lemons and some earthy peat smoke. Coffee too – like green beans being roasted. A liquorice note – you know those liquorice sweets with the purple crunchy outside?
Finish: Quite dry, with maybe a bit of salt. Pleasantly bitter. Vanilla, lemons and smoke linger on for quite some time.

Cracking stuff. Really complex and characterful, with that vague Campbeltown whiff of toolshed, but the lemon and bourbon notes keeping it fresh and approachable.

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