...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Kilkerran 8 year old for Open Day 2016

July 13, 2016 was one of my best whisky days and probably the last time Kristen actually enjoyed drinking single malt scotch. Campbeltown. Springbank Tour. Glengyle Tour. Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting. Ardshiel Hotel Bar.

Among our drinks at the Ardshiel, one Springbank missed and one Kilkerran hit. And I mean really hit. I'm not going to share how much of this bottle we both consumed --

-- but it was a fair amount. (No, that bottle wasn't full when we got there. Maybe.) I remembered the whisky well, then chased it down at an auction more than a year later. On February 24, 2020 (the last in-person scotch event before the quarantine began), I brought it to Columbus Scotch Night where it was happily consumed among 20+ new Kilkerran fans.

I made off with a good sample of the Kilkerran that night because though I loved it two times I was also convinced the tasting environments had influenced my experience. So here's this prized sherried thing as it's about to be consumed in my hermetically sealed tasting chambers:

Distillery: Glengyle
Owner: Mitchell's Glengyle Limited
Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
Age: at least 8 years (??? to 29 April 2016)
Maturation: sherry cask(s?)
Bottled for: Springbank Open Day 2016
Alcohol by Volume: 56.4%
(from my bottle)

It wasn't just my previous enthusiasms, the nose has layers! At first there's pineapple, a hint of yeasty wort, lightly peated dried apricots and almond extract. Next, earth, farm, aged parmesan and a funky (manuka?) honey. Then it's all butterscotch candies and Smith & Cross rum. The intense (but not hot) palate is all dark chocolate, coffee beans, pipe tobacco and dried herbs. Notes of plum wine, soil and smoked almonds ease in later. It finish with earth, herbs, dark chocolate and a gingery zing.

Not going to add much water here...

DILUTED TO ~50%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes prunier and peatier. There's also a sugary candy note, golden raisins and burnt veg. The palate gets saltier and plummier (adjectives!), and picks up a definite rye seed note which follows into the finish, which is otherwise all smoked almonds in toffee.

This is in the running for my favorite Kilkerran, or the best high strength version I've had so far. I preferred it neat by a good distance over the diluted pour. Dilution removes its quirks, uniqueness and complexity, so go it straight! I'm so happy to have opened this bottle up with friends and watched it bring joy to others. And, yes, I'm giving this whisky one extra point for emotional purposes.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90 (neat!)