Kilkerran Work in Progress 7, Bourbon Wood

Kilkerran, Work in Progress 7, Bourbon Cask
I think the seventh release was the last of Kilkerran’s Work in Progress series. As with the previous couple of Work in Progress releases it came in both “Bourbon Wood” and “Sherry Wood” incarnations. However, this bourbon wood version was released at cask strength. I think by this point these releases were at 10 years old, give or take a year—someone will be along to confirm shortly. I don’t know if there’s a reason why this, of all the WIP releases, was bottled at cask strength (or why the companion sherry wood wasn’t). The regular release 12 yo that followed it this year is at the 46% of all the other Work in Progress releases. Anyway, I quite liked the bourbon cask Work in Progress 6, which I reviewed earlier this month (and which I tasted right before this one) and am looking forward to reviewing the regular 12 yo next month: let’s get this intervening release out of the way first. 

Kilkerran Work in Progress 7, Bourbon Wood (54.1%; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Peppery, minerally peat, just like in the WIP 6, and some of the putty too (but no plastic)—but it’s generally more closed. More spirity too on the second sniff but this passes quickly, replaced quickly by lime zest and wet stones. With more time there’s a touch of vanilla and cream. With water the lime turns to citronella and the vanilla expands as well.

Palate: A big hit of lime and lime zest with some peppery peat around the edges but it’s not as peaty as the previous edition. Lovely, oily mouthfeel. A bit sweeter on the second sip but this is all about the lime and (white) pepper. Very approachable at full strength. With more time it gets quite sooty and there’s some salt too now. Mellower with water, a little sweeter maybe.

Finish: Long. The lime is more zesty here and keeps expanding, bringing the peppery peat with it. With time and water the sweeter notes hang around into the finish.

Comments: This is clearly a sibling of the WIP 6 but it’s not particularly Longrow’ish. And rather than Talisker it brings to mind Clynelish (if it were more highly peated). These are my associations—they may seem idiosyncratic or wrong-headed to you (I accept your apology). Even though this is in some ways a simpler malt than the previous edition—if that one was austere, this one is close to one-note—I like this even more. It’s a perfectly focused malt, and if this style does it for you you will love this (though I have no idea if it is still available).

Rating: 90 points.

Thanks to Florin for the sample!

8 thoughts on “Kilkerran Work in Progress 7, Bourbon Wood

  1. I was motivated to find this when someone compared WIP-7 to a modern Brora. I cannot find the tweet or link but regardless, your comparison to Clynelish is spot on.

    Looking forward to the Kilkerran 12yr notes.

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    • Everywhere I know in the Twin Cities that carries Kilkerran sold out within a couple days. (I didn’t buy one).
      Since other WIPs (still) sit on shelves, there must have been some hype.

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  2. Add this to the list of whiskies that are wasted on me. Not as much as Ardbeg Anything and Lagavulin 16, but still. Here were my impressions:

    “I don’t know if I got a bum bottle or I just can’t get tuned to this. In any case, hotter and less tasty than I remember it from a previous tasting. The Kilkerran signature notes are there (lineseed oil, burlap bags, steel-cut oats, barley), but not really in full force. At least for this bottle the cask strength didn’t work so well. Disappointing – but I suspect some bottle damage. 82pts”

    Obviously it was not the bottle’s fault! Also: I gave WiP6 the same score.

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  3. Kilkerran… a wonderful new addition to the whisky world. Hope to see more from them in the future… and hopefully they sufficiently distinguish themselves from Springbank/Longrow.

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    • As of a month ago Total Wine had the 6’s and sherry 7, South Lyndale had the 5, 6’s, and 7 sherry, Zipps had sherry 6 and 7. (The online inventories aren’t always correct). Maybe a couple other places, too? I didn’t mean to imply that those earlier white or grey WIPs were still around.

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