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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Kilkerran 11 year old 2020 Cadenhead

Next up in this terrifyingly-recent-bottling series is an 11 year old Kilkerran, released by Cadenhead a couple months ago. The folks in charge of J&A Mitchell's production have a gem in Glengyle (Kilkerran's distillery), often making single malt that tops Springbank at a young age. Kilkerran's Work in Progress series remains my favorite window into the life of a developing single malt style/brand/whisky. The early bourbon cask WIPs were terrific, while the older sherry cask WIPs were possibly better.

So I know that Glengyle can deliver after 6 to 11 maturation years......when in small batches. The more recent single cask sherry syrup coming from the distillery has been less convincing. Today's single bourbon barrel comes from Cadenhead, so it's kinda technically an official bottling since Cadenhead, Kilkerran and Glengyle distillery are all owned by the same folks.

Distillery: Glengyle
Owner: Mitchell's Glengyle Limited
Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
"Independent" bottler: Cadenhead
Age: 11 years (Late 2010 - Summer 2022)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Outturn: 210 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.2%
(from a bottle split)


Yeast and soda bread lead the nose, with white peaches and cigarette ash following. Little bits of blossoms, butterscotch and charred marshmallows appear after some time. I find a lot of wood smoke and new make in the early palate. Lots of limes up top, a few yuzus and yellow peaches beneath. Black pepper, sweet limes and leafy smoky finish it off.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Reminiscent of Westland Distillery's peaty wort, the nose is full of barley, yeast and oats, with florals in the background, occasional notes of vanilla cookies and almond cookies around the edges. The palate is raw and very sweet. Simple peatiness in the foreground; pencil graphite in the middle; vanilla, cardboard and cannabis hints in the back. The nondescript finish is tangy, sweet and kind of bitter.


This is almost new make; good new make, but still the clear stuff. I always appreciate when Cadenhead goes gentle on the oak, but I wonder why this spirit wasn't kept in the barrel for several years more. It doesn't hold together well once diluted, so sipping it neatly is recommended. As is often the case with these youngsters, the nose wins the day.

Availability - perhaps at the remaining Cadenhead shops?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 83 (neat only; at least a 5-point drop when diluted)

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