Kilkerran WIP IV

by Matti

Kilkerran is the brandname for what comes out of Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown. Rebuilt 10 or so years ago under the wings of Springbank distillery, it has brought out an annual series of Work In Progress bottlings starting at 5 years old. The one I have before me is the 4th in the series, and at 9 years old it is approaching the traditional ages for standard bottlings.

Kilkerran WIP IVThe nose is very particular. Sour, sour fruits are prevalent, as well as warm spices (cinnamon, nutmeg). As you let it breathe it calms down and becomes more mellow with notes of vanilla, apple and cloves. In the background I detect some weird almost discordant notes: wet cardboard and motor oil. These do not detract from so much as enrich the experience though.

The taste follows the profile hinted at in the nose fairly well. Though the fruit is still there, the vanilla and especially the spice take the upper hand. The spicy notes suggest a small amount of peat-influence, and they provide the crispy edge for mellow vanilla and custard-notes. The mouthfeel is fairly prickly, but not annoyingly so.

The finish reminds me of apple pie, not the overly sweet variety you find in shops, but the tart version you expect coming out of your grandmothers oven. It ends on a long lasting spicy note.

Overall, this is a highly pleasant dram for one so young. It has a very distinct personality (especially on the nose) which reminds me faintly of Springbank, but has its own distinct flavour which hopefully will increase as it gets older. I can’t wait until this turns 12, and 18, and 21…

In a blend,  I think this would make a good base malt to build upon. It has plenty of character, but leaves room for broadening of flavour by adding sherried or peated whiskies as well as refinement by adding whiskies with similar fruity, spicy characters.