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.
Kilkerran 8 Year Old Cask Strength (56.2%, £54/€54.99)
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? Continue reading
This post was sitting in the drafts folder for a while and it’s about time I’ll finish it as it discuss a whisky which was the whisky of the year 2016 for me, the Kilkerran 12 Year Old and it will be best if I get it published before end of February 🙂
Before we go down to the tasting notes, let’s talk about titles and what a big difference adding or omitting a word means. I was reading the two-parts interview with Jim Murray on The Whisky Exchange Blog that followed the 2017 book release, and yes, just like so many of my friends I did roll my eyes at his attitude and antics but I also noticed that unlike previous years his infamous awards which previously I just couldn’t fathom now kinda made sense to me.
Now, don’t be too shocked from this revelation. I myself was shocked enough for all of us, but it’s really a simple matter of understanding that his awards doesn’t go to the BEST whisky of the year 2017 but to a whisky that he crown as “whisky of the year”. Do you notice the omission here? In case you didn’t noticed the bold and capital word before, the word BEST is missing out there.
So what is the best whisky of the year? Truthfully, I have no idea as it’s a very subjective choice and depends on what you tasted in the last year. I will offer a theory that for most of us it will usually be one of old-aged whiskies or perhaps a special single cask (a la those Kavalan solists that won MMA awards). If so, the play-field is narrower than what we think and any choice from those whiskies will likely be acceptable as a proper choice even if not exactly your choice. But when it comes to straight and simple “whisky of the year”, the rule set is broader and even more subjective as it doesn’t relay on taste only and involves other factors. So i tried to compile my own rule set for such a selection:
- It should be a good whisky – I mean, come on, we won’t select a bad or mediocre whisky (even if it’s over hyped) as whisky of the year, right?
- Accessibility – A single cask or low count of bottles, bottling for a specific market are striked-out. What’s the point of hailing a whisky that most of us won’t have a chance to taste it because we can’t lay our hands on it?
- Affordability – a brother clause to the previous one. Lagavulin 25yo 200th anniversary? 8000 bottles but it comes with an abhorring price tag. So it won’t be my selection
So I followed the rules above and eventually selected the whisky I review today as my whisky of the year – it’s affordable, accessible, it’s pretty good and isn’t riding a huge PR hype wave. It’s a whisky to drink and enjoy
Nose: Starts with gentle wafts of smoke and Campbeltown funk. There’s leather, tobacco leaves, engine fumes and oils, all accompanied by sweet red dried fruit. Farmy with grass, hey and green tomatoes. After it opens up a bit there is honey and the red fruits show up again. Continue reading
Last night was star wars night when I went to view “The force awakening” on the first screening (a minute past midnight). But I paid dearly for this adventure as I missed the opportunity to delve into the daily dram and maybe get a full slate of 100 points. It was clear to me that it’s a Campeltown whisky, aged 10-12 and mid fifties ABV but since I had no time, I entered a generic guess of Springbank, 12yo, 54% which yielded me 69 points, the highest daily amount of the competition. Oh, there was a whisky too and it was good! It’s the limited edition of Kilkerran WIP 7 in Bourbon cask, the last Work in Progress in the series before we get the regular OB 12 yo next year.
Kilkerran Work In Progress (WIP) 7 Bourbon Wood (54.1%, 11 Year old, £49.99/€75.9)
Nose: Hmm, first sniff was weird with lots of lactic notes and dirt, but it settled down after some air exposure and then we got a myriad of notes: honey and a lot of farmy notes with hey, grass and a bit of greenery. It has that lovely dirtiness combo of brine, peat smoke and diesel oil. How dirty it is? let’s say that after a bit while, it’s dirtier than the dirty dozen 🙂 oh, and I still get a weak lactic note but it’s fitting OK in the big picture here.