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Monday, June 27, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Kilkerran Work In Progress, First Release

Though last week I bemoaned, "Whew, all these young malts are beginning to get to me," I have made an executive decision to break out some young single malts that will hopefully represent better examples of whisky in its early bloom. And I'm going to start with one of my favorite retired whisky series, Kilkerran's Work In Progress. I'm going to try an old favorite, and as well as the only two WIPs I've yet to review. I'm beginning with one of the latter, Work In Progress, First Release, pouring from my bottle.

For those who haven't read my previous WIP raves, I'll recap 'em. Springbank's parent company (re-)opened Glengyle in 2004, then started to roll out annual whisky-as-status-updates known as the Work In Progress series once the whisky was of legal age. The year after reaching Batch 7, the distillery offered up their first 12 year old single malt. I enjoyed some, adored others, seeing many of them as "ready to go", as opposed to "works in progress". But I never reviewed the first batch. And I had a bottle. Then I opened it and now I am really drinking it, making it an official TIRD!

Distillery: Glengyle
Owner: Mitchell's Glengyle Limited
Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
Age: ~5 years (2004 - 2009)
Maturation: bourbon and sherry casks
Label color: White
Limited release: 9,000 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a added? No
(from my bottle, upper half)


In the nose, cocoa mixes with the Kilkerran dried leaf / forest floor note, followed by fruits (peach skins, lychee, lemon and dried cherries) and starches (fresh whole wheat bread and witbier). After 20 minutes, orange zest and roses. After 30 minutes, apples and seaweed.

Bright citrus tanginess matches the autumnal forest peat beat for beat in the palate. Bitter herbs, mild honeyed sweetness and a distant bonfire arrive next. After 40 minutes, I find a pair of Hampden notes: diesel and olives.

It finishes with dried leaves, a little bit of seaweed, limes, yuzus, honey and a hint of kiln.


The old Ben Wyvis stills worked wonders from the start. While this 5-ish year old is not as round and focused as it could be at thrice its age, all the great components are already there, matching up and spinning together better than many other whiskies thrice its age. It neither reads raw, nor feels raw on the tongue. And the casks are present only to work their invisible chemistry. This is my style.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - $59.99 in April 2013
Rating - 87

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