Kilkerran week got off to a good start on Monday with Batch 6 in their 8 yo Cask Strength series, which was matured in sherry casks. It then hit a bit of a bump in the road on Wednesday with Batch 7 in that series, which was matured in port casks. Here now to close out the week is Batch 4 of a different Kilkerran series, the Heavily Peated. I’ve previously reviewed Batch 1 from this series, and I was not terribly impressed by it. You might think that would bode ill for this review but I think this one is a bit older. I believe the series—also referred to as Peat in Progress—features progressively older iterations of the heavily peated distillate. It doesn’t appear to be the case though that every release is a year older than the previous. As per Whiskybase, Batch 1 and Batch 2 both came out in 2019, Batch 3 in 2020 and both Batch 4 and Batch 5 in 2021; and Batch 6—the latest—came out this year. So this is probably only a little bit older than Batch 1. But enough to make a difference? Let’s see.
I believe this contains 80% ex-bourbon and 20% ex-sherry matured spirit.
Kilkerran Heavily Peated, Batch 4 (58.6%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Smoke, yes, but also an unexpected amount of fruit: lemon and charred pineapple. The smoke is ashy and there’s some hot tarmac mixed in there too. Beneath the smoke and fruit are whiffs of damp earth and expanding notes of coriander seed and brine. As it sits the charred pineapple expands. With a few drops of water some vanilla sweetness pops out.
Palate: Comes in with that same mix of smoke and fruit, with the smoke (more tarry here) in the ascendancy. The lemon (sweeter now) and salt expand as I swallow. Approachable enough at full strength with rich texture. The salt and fruit pop out quicker with time and now there’s some tart-sweet mango in there too and the salt turns to rock salt. With more time still the coriander seed pops here as well along with pepper. Water pushes the fruit back a bit and pulls out more cracked pepper and slightly tarrier smoke.
Finish: Long. The smoke, salt and lemon wind around each other for a while. Tracks with the palate as it sits. Water emphasizes the salt.
Comments: This really was a lovely surprise and certainly a lot better than the first batch. Indeed, it’s very reminiscent of older Longrows and that is high praise indeed from me. Wish I had a full bottle. I suspect, by the way, that the bottle my sample came from may have been open for a bit.
Rating: 88 points.