Kilkerran 8 CS, Batch 7, Port Cask

Kilkerran week got off to a strong start on Monday with Batch 6 of their 8 yo cask strength series. That one was matured in sherry casks and was a lovely example of the earthy Campbeltown sherry profile that should be very familiar to aficionados of Springbank’s whisky. Today I have for you a review of Batch 7 which was matured in port casks. It’s no secret that I am in general dubious about port cask whiskies. That said, the port-matured whiskies that work best for me tend to be ones with peat in the mix and there’s certainly some peat in the mix in these Kilkerran 8 CS releases. Will that be enough to elevate this port cask release? Let’s see.

Kilkerran 8 CS, Batch 7, Port Cask (57.9%; from a bottle split)

Nose: Very much like the sherry cask at first sniff with roasted malt, damp earth, orange peel and brine in the front. Just a bit of sweetness around the edges to signal the port cask. More sourness on subsequent sniffs—tart cherry and orange but also oak—and a nutty/beany note. With time the sour oak recedes and the tart cherry and orange resolve to apricot; some char too now. A few drops of water push the oak back altogether.

Palate: Comes in here with the sour oak, turning quite salty as I swallow. Approachable at full strength with good texture. More winey on the second sip and there’s some of the nutty/beany note from the nose as well. Continues in this vein with the citrus and the malt well behind the sourness from the wine and oak. Let’s see if water improves things here. Yes, it does. The oak gets pushed back and there’s more of the usual Cambeltown/Springbank mix of brine, earth, mustard seed etc.

Finish: Long. The salt expands and then the roasted malt pops out, bringing some gingery notes with it; damp earth too. A bit of wine separation. The sour oak returns at the end to get the last word. As on the palate with water.

Comments: I liked the nose from the get-go but the palate and finish were not at that level. Water does improve things there but, on the whole, there’s too much oak influence here, and while it’s not exactly a winesky, the port is not integrated as well as I’d like either.

Rating: 84 points.



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