Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Funky little thing: a new sherried batch Kilkerran 8

The true Campbeltown character is, by those in the know, described as being “funky”. If you tasted a few expressions from whatever distillery or variant (Longrow, Hazelburn), you can easily get the thinking behind this. I used to think Glen Scotia might be the most funky whisky out there, but where they are cleaning up their act in more ways than one, Kilkerran is gladly stepping in.

Kilkerran is made only two months a year, when the production team of neighbouring Springbank moves next door to the Glengyle Distillery. Even though the distillery is not that old, the look and feel of it gives off this traditional Victorian vibe that Campbeltown is known for. Here is me hoping there will be a lot more Kilkerran produced in the future. It has enough of individual character to slip out from under the Springbank wings, while still remaining a proud Mitchell family member.

 We are going to make a tasting note of a brand new batch of the beloved Kilkerran 8 years old.

Kilkerran 8 years old (batch #10), bottled at 57,4 % abv

Makeup: Bottled on 8 January of 2024, so this is truly a very new bottle. It is batch 10 of the Kilkerran 8 years old, and maturation took place in oloroso sherry casks, of which most were first fill. Based on a comment on Whiskybase 13.500 bottles have been bottled.

General impressions: Fruity on oranges and tangerines, eat today or throw away tomorrow. Overripe stuff coming from the glass. In the depth there is a sour influence, like when you are checking a carton of milk only to establish it is gone. Like I said, funky. There is a meaty scent as well, hinting towards the slightest touch of sulphur, but it does not power through to dominate. In that way, it brings complexity instead of an off-putting experience.

Wow, what a sweet and tongue coating feeling! Extremely sweet, almost making me want to take some extra insulin. This is very sugary! Black berries are there, Mediterranean spices from the Moroccan store, like big dried dades. On a second (undiluted) sip, you pick up on some wood notes and a slight smokiness. On the finish I even get a hint of iodine. Maybe they accidentally dropped a cask of peated Kilkerran in there?
On to some impressions with adding a small drop of water: the balance stays most impressive. Kilkerran works so well at a young age. The liquid becomes more mellow now, with some banana and other soft fruits emerging. These were very clean oloroso casks. Water brings out some typical tobacco notes that I associate with these kind of sherry casks.

Conclusion: Simply a delicious dram, and I am almost reluctant to score it like I will, but to me everything about this works. The alcohol is kept in check by dominant sherry casks, the spirit still has chance to shine, and all this combined makes for a dram for those with a sweet tooth. I already liked batch #8 (which was a full bourbon expression) for its fruitiness, but this goes one step further.

Score: 89 points

Disclaimer: taken from a self-bought bottle at Slijterij Le Chateau in Hedel, Netherlands.

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