The new month may have begun in the middle of the week but that doesn’t mean I’m going to not keep this week themed as well. And no, the fact that Monday’s review was of a Springbank and today’s is of a Kilkerran does not mean the theme is Campbeltown. This will instead be a week of sherry cask reviews. I’m not sure what Friday’s review will be of but while I have a few sherry cask-matured whiskies on the long list for June I don’t have any more from Campbeltown.
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Kilkerran (almost exactly two years in fact) and indeed I’ve not reviewed very many of their releases or, for that matter, stayed current on what they’re up to. I’ve really liked all the Kilkerrans I’ve tried, though I think those may all have been from bourbon casks. Well, let’s hope I find this one to be a better exemplar of the distillery’s style than I did Monday’s Springbank Local Barley.
Kilkerran 8 CS, Batch 4 (57.1%; Recharred Oloroso Sherry Casks ; from a bottle split)
Nose: Big sherry off the top: raisins at first along with some citrus but then dry, earthier notes begin to emerge as well. As it sits there’s quite a bit of pencil lead and some charred meat with a sweet sauce somewhere between plum and hoisin. The pencil lead turns quickly to oak but it’s not tannic or raw. Sweeter fruit with time (yes, it’s plum along with some apricot). A few drops of water and now it’s all about the plum and apricot and it’s rather lovely.
Palate: Comes in hot and also comes in brighter than on the nose with the citrus rather than the raisins leading the way. The oak is out in front as well and between it and the alcohol burn it’s hard to tease the notes apart. The oak is not tannic here either despite being prominent. With time and air it becomes more approachable but we’re talking 40+ minutes. Now the citrus and the oak and the sweeter sherry notes are in better balance. Okay, time to add some water. Yes, it pushes the oak back here too and brings out the sweeter, richer fruit; some pipe tobacco too.
Finish: Long. The oak is the big note here as well with some of that pencil lead from the nose emerging as it begins to fade; some salt too at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Neat, this is a young sherry bomb that will put you in mind of the A’bunadh or the Glenfarclas 105 (is that still a thing?)—that is to say, good but somewhat generic. With water it really blossoms and develops a fruity depth beyond its years. If you have a full bottle I’d really recommend getting it down closer to 50% when you drink it—I really wish I’d added water earlier than I did with this pour. I wonder how many of these one could have got for the price of the Springbank Local Barley.
Rating: 88 points. (Pulled up by water.)