There have been a few general batch-numbered releases of a Kilkerran 8 CS in recent years. Going off the Whiskybase listings it would appear that the first couple of of these appeared in 2017 (I am not counting previous single cask releases or releases available only at the distillery). The 2017 (Batch 1 and Batch 2) and 2018 (Batch 3) releases were from bourbon casks. I was not the biggest fan of Batch 1 and have not tried the second or third batches. Batch 4 was released in 2019—I reviewed it earlier this year and after an unpromising opening rather liked—and was matured in re-charred oloroso sherry casks. After a year’s break, 2021’s release (Batch 5) is once again from oloroso sherry casks but this time they were first-fill oloroso casks. This is the release I am reviewing today as the first in a week of sherry cask whiskies. On Wednesday I’ll check in with a Balvenie single sherry cask and I’ll close out the week appropriately on Friday with The Whisky Exchange’s recent “A Fine Christmas Malt”. But first let’s get into this one.
Kilkerran 8 CS, Batch 5 (56.9%; first-fill oloroso sherry casks; from a bottle split)
Nose: Nutty off the top (walnuts) with quite a bit of roasted malt and some oak. There’s some peat under the roasted notes—in the damp earth rather than phenolic vein. As it sits a fair bit of brine and salty sea air emerge along with some char and a bit of savoury gunpowder (rock salt). There’s some fruit hiding in there too—whiffs of dried orange peel and apricot; let’s see if air and water pull them out more fully. Oh yes, water unlocks the fruit: the orange peel and apricot expand and some sweeter fruit pops out too (plum?).
Palate: Comes in like a sherried Springbank, reminding me actually of this 15 yo from the Cadenhead’s shop in Edinburgh, with the savoury notes (as much ham cure here as gunpowder) mixed with dried fruit (some mango leather in there too) and damp earth and dark chocolate with sea salt. Gets saltier as it goes. The fruit doesn’t expand quite as much with water here but the whole becomes better integrated and the salt recedes.
Finish: Long. Along much the same lines as the palate with the damp earth and the savoury notes in the lead at first and then the fruit popping out at the end along with the salt. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Another excellent young whisky from Kilkerran and another Kilkerran that blurs the line between this distillery’s releases and those of Springbank. Not much between this and the much older Campbeltown cask. Though somehow I suspect this cost a lot more than I paid for that one in Edinburgh in 2018.
Rating: 88 points.