Along with the Hazelburn 13 release I reviewed a few days ago, there was another eagerly waited Campbeltown release, the Kilkerran 8 Cask Strength.
The official Kilkerran 12 Year Old is a smashing success with a few batches bottled so far and now comes the younger sibling, the Kilkerran 8 Year Old. But to compensate for its youth, we do get to enjoy it at cask strength of 56.2%
The last cask strength Kilkerran was the Work In Progress 7 Bourbon Cask which was simply brilliant, but this time we’re 3 years short and with far more active casks involved, so let’s see how does it fare.
Nose: On first tasting it was a bit shy but on the second round a few days later it became very sweet and rich with lots of malt and honey. But there’s dry side with dry and a bit acrid peat smoke and some fundamental Campbeltown funk. Vanilla, again, very sweet, perhaps a bit too much?
Palate: Better balance here with spices and funk. It’s rich and oily and less sweet than the nose Dry peat smoke, weak funk, metallic, sweet honey and some oak spices.
Finish: Short finish with lingering sweet honey and weak dry peat smoke, bright metals and a touch of fresh rubber.
Thoughts: Fast maturing spirit in (probably fresh) bourbon casks is like a double-edged sword. On one hand you get a fast-maturing and tasty whisky but on the other hand you can lose some basic spirit characteristics to the strong cask influence. I wouldn’t expect Kilkerran 8 yo to be a complex whisky at the tender age of 8, but this time I feel that the wrong side won by points as I feels that the balance is lost here. This is a bit one-dimensional whisky with too strong cask influence. Don’t get me wrong: while it doesn’t come up to the sheer brilliance level of the WIP7 Bourbon cask, this is still a very tasty and an easy drinking whisky for the summer.