...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Things I Really Drink: Chichibu 2015, cask 5262 for TWE

I am not in the habit of spending this kind of money on a single bottle of whisky, and I am not in the habit of entering bottle lotteries. But I do love me some Chichibu, and when The Whisky Exchange announced a lottery for an exclusive single bourbon cask of this Japanese single malt, I thought, "What the hell, LOL."

I entered. I "won". I paid the money. I got the bottle. I am fortune's fool. (That's what the Montague kid meant, right?)

The label is pretty sweet, with its Sportflix-style 3D karate action. There was no creepy giant wooden casket and pillow for the bottle to lay upon, thank goodness. They kept the kanji minimal too.

Secondary market FOMO for this bottle has been bizarre. During the month of its release, the bottle was flipped in auctions for more than thrice its price. But four months later it gavelled for twice its original price. Maybe that isn't bizarre. Perhaps FOMO's half life is evaporating in real time.

Anyhoo, I chose to open the bottle for New Year's Eve 2023 because OMG this planet. Then I did an official tasting on my half-birthday (the 24th of February, in case you've forgotten). Kanpai!

Distillery: Chichibu #1
Location: Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Ownership: Venture Whisky
Range: Martial Arts Trilogy
Age: 5 or 6 years (2015 - 2021)
Maturation: bourbon cask
Outturn: 233 bottles
Exclusive to: The Whisky Exchange
Alcohol by Volume: 59.5%
(from my silly bottle!)

For this tasting, I tried the whisky diluted first, but I'm listing the notes in my usual order.


The nose has at least three levels. Mangoes, guavas, and a honey-lemon syrup sits on top. Moss, dried herbs, and paprika fill the middle. Pastry dough stays on the bottom. The palate is hot AF. I needed to let it sit for 30 minutes in order to approach it properly. THEN: lychee, lemons, apricots, and yellow plums. The long finish has those apricots and yellow plums, but also a slight floral side. It gets tarter with time.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Oh, yeah. Kiwis, mangoes, gingerbread, molasses, and citrons hit the nose first. Then guava juice and orange oil, followed by new jasmine blossoms. The palate is gloriously fruity. Guavas, grapefruits, raspberries, and lemons. But there's also a distinct barley characteristic that turns into a digestive biscuit note with a gentle floral hint underneath. The fruits' tartness keeps the sweetness in check. The fruit basket continues into the finish: limes, lemons, grapefruits, raspberries, and Kasugai yuzu gummies (sorry, one Japanese reference).


This is kind of fabulous. (The TIRD luck continues.) The fruit juice style is tailored to my current palate, though it demands dilution. When the whisky is neat, the nose needs a long time to wake up, and the palate is much too sharp. But at 46%abv, it's all lovely, every bit of it. As I've said before, I have no idea how they've achieved this quality this quickly and consistently. So far, Chichibu is the real deal, holding up better than any other aggressively-hyped new distillery.

But is this whisky worth the $1100 or $700 secondary prices? Is it worth $300? I don't know anymore. But it will very likely be the only bottle of Chichibu I'll ever own, and it continues to be an excellent whisky. And that's as much as I can sort out. If you have this bottle, I hope you open it and share it with friends.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - It's up to The Furies and Whims of the marketplace
Rating - 90 (diluted)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Things I Really Drink: Dalmore 14 year old PX Cask (USA Exclusive)

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a bottle of Dalmore open. Correction, I have a half bottle. Dr. Springbank and I went halfsies on the Dalmore 14 year old PX Cask which was released exclusively for US Americans.

The Whisky Advocate has the full scoop: "It is aged in bourbon barrels, then 40-60% of the liquid is transferred to Pedro Ximénez sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass in Jerez, Spain for approximately 2 years while the balance remains in bourbon barrels. The two parcels are then blended."

That sounds exactly like the Port Wood Reserve, but with PX casks and more age. And it's priced lower than the Port Wood Reserve because it doesn't have "Reserve" in its name.

Distillery: Dalmore
Region: Highlands (Northern)
Ownership: Emperador Distillers Inc (via White & Mackay)
Range: The Principal Collection
Age: minimum 14 years
Maturation: see notes above
Alcohol by Volume: 43.8%
Chillfiltered? ???
Colorant Added? ???


Though vanilla appears early in the nose, none of the 12yo Sherry Select's outright barrel char shows up. Broken stones, rope, and a hint of mushrooms highlight the foreground, with florals in the midground, and grapes and cherries in the back. With time it picks up lemon juice, and the vanilla extract turns into almond extract.

The least sweet and woody of this week's Dalmore palates, this 14yo leads with figs, carob, and menthol. Hints of golden raisins and tart limes drift around sides.

It finishes with dried cranberries and dried cherries (minus all the sugar), and mix of tart and bitter citrus.


I like this more than the Kilkerran 8yo CS Port Cask that I also split with Dr. Springbank. Life is weird. There have been times I have chosen to drink this. I would buy my own bottle, were Dalmore 14 half its actual price. (See, I'm not entirely crazy.) The PX casketry feels more like a second maturation than a polish or a "finesse", the fruit elements work, and its conclusion sticks around for a while. My new Dalmore champion! How about that?

Availability - USA
Pricing - $90ish
Rating - 85

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dalmore 12 year old Sherry Cask Select

Dalmore 12 year old Sherry Cask Select has three more alcohol percentage points and "twice the Sherry influence as the traditional 12 Year Old." The latter quote is from the official site which makes no effort to explain it. Luckily, Mr. Theakson at Drinkhacker reveals that the Select is finished for two years in Oloroso and PX casks.

That a whisky company which prides itself on its fancy sherry casks uses them only to finish all of their standard releases (save some of the oldies) feels very contemporary. Of course, not all finishes are the same, but I'm hoping those two years offer up more than just lip pigmentation.

Yes, you're welcome.

pic pilfered from
Distillery: Dalmore
Region: Highlands (Northern)
Ownership: Emperador Distillers Inc (via White & Mackay)
Range: The Principal Collection
Age: minimum 12 years
Maturation: Round 1: ten years in American oak. Round 2: two years in Oloroso and PX sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Colorant Added? Yes
(thank you to Dr. Springbank for this sample from his bottle!)


Orange peel, yuzu juice, toasted almonds fill the nose's foreground, with barrel char, dark chocolate, and stones in the middle, and cherry lollipops in the back. It gets prettier and more floral with time in the glass.

The palate starts on tart cherries, then switches to sugar and tannins. Flower kiss candy appears after 20 minutes, as do small notes of bitterness and smoke.

Though it finishes sweetly, there are fewer tannins here. Blueberries and ginger, then a mellow bitterness.


Like Monday's Port Wood, the nose wins, but here the palate survives the oak, then finishes nicely, resulting in a reliable anytime pour. I have no idea why Dalmore priced this lower than the Port Wood, but it still ain't cheap for a 43%abv 12 year old that wouldn't stand out in a crowd. Then again, is $80 the going rate for daily drinkers now? I hope not. Anyway, this is the best contemporary Dalmore I've tried. So far.

Availability - 
North America, Europe, and Asia
Pricing - $80ish
Rating - 83

Monday, February 20, 2023

Dalmore Port Wood Reserve (US release)

Here are the top three reasons that the name "Dalmore" has rarely been mentioned on this blog during the 11.5 years I've reviewed spirits here:
  1. Their bottling plant suffers from an dangerously excessive water supply. I mean, that's why their whiskies are so aggressively diluted, right?
  2. As single malt sales began warming up 10 years ago, Dalmore declared itself a luxury brand, boosting prices on its age-stated malts higher than any other brand, save (maybe) Macallan. Meanwhile Dalmore single malt offers nothing quality-wise that every other sherry cask whisky doesn't. So it was luxury-because-we-say-so, which is my least favorite thing next to......
  3. Richard Paterson ostentatiously dumping whisky on the floor is the douchiest whisky thing ever recorded on video, which is saying something considering the competition. You gonna get down on the floor and clean that up yourself, Dick? Didn't think so.
Anyway, I have two good friends who like(d) Dalmore's single malt, and they graciously provided me with samples from their bottles. So I'm going to do one week of Dalmore reviews then avoid them forever, unless more bourbon cask indie releases appear.

I'll start off with Dalmore's standard Port Wood Reserve release. Ah yes, "Reserve". That's Scotch for "three to five years old". So of course it costs $100.

Pro: It's bottled at the very-un-Dalmore strength of 46.5%abv!

Started out a Pro but turned into a ???: Its contents started out in American oak, yay! Then half stayed in American oak, yay! The other half spent an unspecified amount of time in tawny port casks, and was then blended with the American oak portion.

Distillery: Dalmore
Region: Highlands (Northern)
Ownership: Emperador Distillers Inc (via White & Mackay)
Range: The Principal Collection
Age: ???
Maturation: Step 1 - Matured in American oak. Step 2 - Half re-casked into tawny port casks. Step 3 - Marry both halves together.
Alcohol by Volume: 46.5%
Chillfiltered? I don't know
Colorant Added? Probably
(thank you to BR for this sample from his bottle!)


Whew, the nose starts off fusty like a dusty, which I kinda like. Even after that characteristic wanes, it leaves behind a nice dirty edge. Beyond the fust lies fudge, roses, raspberries and lemon peel.

Less of the dusty fusty on the palate, though here it reads more like Loch Lomond funk, and it dissipates quickly. Unfortunately it's replaced by tannins. On the hand, its sweetness is well moderated by tangy berries and tart citrus.

Berry jam leads the finish, though it's not too sweet. Bitter oak lingers in the background.


The nose wins by a good length, a common occurrence with cask-heavy spirits, but the palate is better than I'd expected. The finish was not. I'm not sure if everyone will find that same quirky character in the nose and palate (Serge's notes suggest something sulfuric), so this might be a Rorschach test for some. I think it could have been an interesting competitor for Glenmo's Quinta Ruban, had the Reserve been priced more realistically. But alas, Dalmore.

Availability - North America, Europe, and Asia
Pricing - $100+
Rating - 80

Friday, February 17, 2023

Royal Lochnagar 19 year old Cadenhead Small Batch, 56.6%abv

On Wednesday I reviewed my third-ever Cardhu. Today I'll review my third-ever Royal Lochnagar. Truly, it is a week of milestones.

Diageo's smallest distillery, Royal Lochnagar has historically been one of Johnnie Walker Blue Label's main malts, while also making appearances in the Pinch and Windsor blends. Cadenhead bottled a number of 1996 vintage Lochnagars, and this may well be one of them, but I'm not sure. Just to add to the confusion, there is a 56.3%abv batch and a 56.6%abv batch. This, the oldest RL single malt I've had, is the latter.

Distillery: Royal Lochnagar
Region: Middle Eastern Highlands
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Small Batch
Age: minimum 19 years
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 56.6%
Chillfiltered: No
Colored: No
(from a bottle split)


The nose starts off well, with a mix of dried currants, figs, and hint of industrial smoke. Small notes of white chocolate macadamia cookies and kiwis fill in around the edges. Orange liqueur, tart lemons, and pencil shavings lead the palate. Hints of almond extract and peaches show up occasionally. It's also VERY tannic. The finish gets oakier with time. Tart citrus and eucalyptus struggle to be heard.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose becomes slightly farmy, with the industrial character retreated to the back. A little bit of oak spice drifts around. Sadly the palate gets oakier and papery. Oranges, limes, and almond extract can't push through. It finishes bitterly. Such is life.


Quite a quality split between the nose and palate. I really enjoyed the breadth of the former, but struggled with the narrowness of the latter. I'm not sure what the maturation vessel was other than a capital 'C' Cask. Neither water nor time helped relieve the tannins. Had the flavors paralleled the scents, this would have been a heck of a whisky. Alas no. I doubt I'll chase after other Royal Lochnagar samples/splits in the future.

Availability - Sold out?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Cardhu 14 year old 2006, Special Release 2021

With today's post, I am doubling this blog's Cardhu review grand total. You're welcome! In fact, this is only the third Cardhu I've ever tried. Most recently I consumed the GoT House of Schmargaryanne Gold Forgettable (man, what a limp collection that was). And a decade ago, during a head-to-head of Cardhu 12 against Johnnie Walker Green Label, JW pantsed the 'dhu repeatedly. Thus my expectations for this Diageo Special Release are not high. But I'm trying here, people, I'm trying!

Distillery: Cardhu
Ownership: Diageo
Range: Special Release
Age: at least 14 years old (2006 - 2021)
Maturation: refill American oak + red wine cask finish
Outturn: ?????
Alcohol by Volume: 55.5%
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? Not much if any
(from a bottle split)


The nose is...a nose. It starts with a mix of raw grain, sesame seeds, and clay. Then things get wild. Suave Naturals raspberry conditioner (do they still make that?), toasted coconut, perfume, and steel wool show up together like a K-Pop crew from hell. Then orange blossoms and a salty broth call out from the background. The palate arrives alive. Moderate amounts of sweet (golden syrup), floral (blossoms), and salt (salt). Hint of lime, a touch of Chambord. Not much oak. Cherry juice, chile oil, and white jellybeans roll through the finish.

That was a thing. Now with water!

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

At this strength, the nose has more malt, less wine. More flowers, less perfume. Something coastal arises in the distance. Much better palate too. Tart fruits take over the foreground, while the sweets (golden syrup and butterscotch) retreat to the back. A gentle sweetness finishes it off.


Though I cannot say this whisky has inspired me to try a fourth Cardhu, it was still better than the two I'd tried previously. In fact it's pretty good once diluted, though a certifiable hot mess when neat. A lot of these bottles remain on the shelves and, judging by the prices, retailers don't know what to do with the damned things.

Availability - 
The First World
Pricing - $150-$400 (USA), $120-$250 (Europe)
Rating - 83 (diluted only)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Balmenach 11 year old Old Particular, cask DL12563 for K&L

After offering up some fairly organized distillery groupings, this blog's throwing you a trio of Oh Yeah That Distillery Exists reviews this week. It's all Speyside(-adjacent) stuff, and I really don't know what to expect. But the samples were getting lonely, and I'm hoping to find something fun hidden within the bottles.

First up, Balmenach!

Distillery: Balmenach
Ownership: Thai Beverages plc (via Inver House Distillers)
Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Particular
Age: 11 years old (Sept 2006 - Aug 2018)
Maturation: Refill Hogshead
Cask#: DL 12563
Outturn: 284
Alcohol by Volume: 59.3%
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(from a bottle split)

Color: 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🚾, my fave!


We're close to (very good) new make on the nose, farmy and almost smoky. Cherry lollies, raspberry jam, golden raisins, and a hint of shortbread. The palate is neither too hot nor too sweet. Yeah it has honey, cinnamon red hots, and red Twizzlers, but imagine those essences without so much sugar involved. It has a slight maltiness in the background, along with anise and salt. It finishes with a curious almost-dragonfruit note, along with tart limes and cinnamon red hots. A good length to it too.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Oh, the nose goes very fruity, like a juice made of mango, papaya, peach, and ginger. The palate gets more floral, while leaning more towards fruit than candy. No weird oak stuff! It finishes with a proper balance sweet and tart.


Is this what happens when you don't mess with Balmenach's spirit? Because this is my kind of baby whisky! I'd drink this neatly any time, but it can take a lot of water too. K&L slung this malt for the right price, four years ago. I missed out!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $44.99
Rating - 87

Friday, February 10, 2023

Daftmill 2009 Summer Release (2020, USA)

The inclusion of a first-fill sherry cask in the mix makes this 2009 Summer Release different the other four Daftmills I've tried. The distillery's all-bourbon-barrel approach has been solid and reliable so far, but the 2007 Winter Release called out for some sort of twist. To try to gain perspective, I tried that batch side-by-side with this one. 

Distillery: Daftmill
Owner: Francis Cuthbert
Region: Bow of Fife, Lowlands
Age: 11 years (2009 - 2020)
Barley: Optic
Maturation: four(?) bourbon barrels + one first-fill sherry butt
Outturn: 1680 bottles
Exclusive to: USA
Alcohol by Volume: 46%abv
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(from a bottle split)


Though the sherry cask brings a nuttier side to the 2009's nose, along with some dried cherries, a malty note stands its ground right up front. Cinnamon moves through the midground, while lychee and flowers linger in the back. If I tried this whisky blindly, I'd think its palate was that of an officially-bottled Aberlour, with the dried fruits leading the way at first. But a prettier element — full of hazelnut cream, roses, and plums — slowly takes over. The usual peppercorn note is replaced by a hint of pencil shavings. It finishes sweet and creamy, with quieter nut and flower notes in the background.


Yes, the sherry butt wasn't shy, but it did not tip this batch into winesky territory. Instead this Daftmill read fuller and thicker than the '07 Winter Release, and felt better blended than many bourbon+sherry cask single malts from much bigger batches and distilleries. I'd keep a lookout for future Daftmill batches with this cask combination were the bottle prices not so dear.

Availability - Possibly still available in the US
Pricing - $225-$300
Rating - 85

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Daftmill 2007 Winter Release (2019, UK)

After trying the recent 15yo CS approach to Daftmill, I decided to have a go at two others from the young Lowland distillery. The 2006 Summer Release has been my favorite Daftmill so far, while the 2006 Winter has been my least favorite, though all of three points separate the two. The 2007 Winter Release (UK edition) was constructed entirely from first-fill bourbon barrels, and that's all I knew about it before this tasting.

Distillery: Daftmill
Owner: Francis Cuthbert
Region: Bow of Fife, Lowlands
Age: 11-12 years (November 2007 - 2019)
Barley: Optic
Maturation: Seven first-fill bourbon barrels (23-25, 27, 32, 35, and 38)
Outturn: 1785 bottles
Exclusive to: United Kingdom
Alcohol by Volume: 46%abv
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(thank you to Dr. Springbank for the sample!)


The nose starts off like a white burgundy (which is good!) with its grapes, lemons, and peaches. Sugar cookies, cherry juice, and honey arrive next, with hints of white bread and brine in the background. Lemons, salt, and sugar cookies fill the palate's foreground, with a few peppercorns and some new make in the back. Plenty sweet throughout. It finishes briefly with lemon candy, lychee, black pepper, and salt.


It's an inoffensive everyday drinker, but it doesn't turn into anything more than that. My short notes aren't due to a dead nose, as tomorrow's whisky (tried alongside this one) offered much more. It's just mellow stuff, perhaps a bit rawer than the other four Daftmills I've sampled, something to pour, sip, and forget. No harm in that, but nothing to sing about either. Perhaps it needed a little something else. More on that, tomorrow.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 82

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Daftmill 15 year old 2006 Cask Strength

I'm not going to top the intro I wrote for my previous Daftmill review (in 2020), so I encourage you to read that post first if you're curious about my feelings about the Cuthbert family and their wee Lowland distillery, Daftmill. Here's a hint: the feelings are positive. The fact that a new distillery was daft enough to actually allow their product to mature for more than a decade before bringing it to the market still makes me smile.

In addition to the 2006-2019 Summer Release referenced above, I've also reviewed the 2006-2018 Winter Release. Both whiskies were "modest and peaceful" and spirit-forward, about 12 years of age and diluted to 46%abv. Today, I'm trying my first cask strength Daftmill, and perhaps their oldest release so far: a 15 year old.

Distillery: Daftmill
Owner: Francis Cuthbert
Region: Bow of Fife, Lowlands
Age: minimum 15 years old (2006-2022)
Barley: Chariot
Maturation: 28 first-fill bourbon casks
Outturn: 5338 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 55.7%abv
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(from a bottle split)


Mmmmm. Shortbread biscuits, honey, and yuzus in the nose, with brown sugar, herbes de Provence, and cardamom pods in the background. The palate starts with an fruity/floral eau de vie mixed with lime juice and a hint of grapefruit. It's quite tart and mildly sweet, with plenty of peppercorns in the background. It finishes with shortbread, limes, peppercorns.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Orange peel and vanilla bean take the fore in the nose now, something woodsy (not woody) in the middle, and a hint of miso in the back. Tart oranges and black peppercorns fill the palate, with a floral hint around the edges. It finishes with a mix of fresh ginger, oranges, and vanilla.


The pretty nose reads like something between (what we all used to generalize as) Speyside and Lowland, with some decent complexity when served neatly. Youth has not left the palate, giving it just enough bite and fight to keep it from getting too soft.

Though one must continue to pay a premium for this tiny distillery's output, this 15 year old cask strength version is the same price as the 12 year old diluted batches we received here in The States.

As far as overall quality, while I've yet to have a real stunner from Daftmill, each of their single malts has been very good, making them the most reliable Lowland malt distillery at the moment. How about two more Daftmills this week?

Availability - European Union
Pricing - $250-$300 (w/VAT, exchange rate as of 6 Feb)
Rating - 86

Friday, February 3, 2023

Things I Really Drink: Kilkerran 8 year old Cask Strength, Port Casks

Kilkerran's 8yo Cask Strength series has defied expectations for me, but in the wrong direction. Having adored the Work In Progress series, I was thrilled when the CS series was announced in 2017. I bought a bottle of the first batch in 2017, opened it immediately, but finished it five years later, after considerable effort. It wasn't bad whisky, but it was very disappointing compared to all of the WIPs. Then I got into three bottle splits of the lauded batch #4 (re-charred oloroso casks), but found them all to be extremely oaky. A bit soured on this series, I thought I'd ignore future batches. But then I split a bottle of the port cask-driven batch #7: port casks because I'm a fool.

Distillery: Glengyle
Owner: Mitchell's Glengyle Limited
Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
Age: minimum 8 years
Maturation: port casks
Alcohol by Volume: 57.9%
(from a 50/50 bottle split with Dr. Springbank)


The nose is surprisingly sulfurous at the start. And there's a mix of cheddar and Velveeta happening as well. Wet sand, roses, pomegranate arils, and red gummy bears arrive later. What kind of port was this?! Less scary than the nose, the palate offers up raisins and dried blueberries, flowers and yeast. Lots of sugar, lots of heat, and even more black pepper. It finishes with black pepper, grape jam and a hint of chocolate.

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

No more sulfur! Quite a bit of American oak, though, on the nose. Vanilla, dried currants and potpourri up front, with something briny in the back. The palate starts off acidic and peppery, then picks up sweet dried berries and a few almonds. It finishes nutty, floral, and peppery.

DILUTED to ~40%abv, or 2¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Unsurprisingly, the nose is much calmer at this strength, just flowers, figs and currants. The palate is floral, tart, and peppery, and finishes similarly.


That's three for three for me. Batches 1, 4, and 7 just don't work for my nose and palate when the whisky is at full strength. They all need water, with this one requiring the most dilution. Its nose is unlike any other port cask whisky I've had, especially as the neat version arrives like a dirty PX cask. The palate works better, but there's too much pepper, and not enough of anything else.

Plenty of whisky remains in this bottle, which means I have many chances to tinker with dilution. But I refuse to let it hang around for five years. Fool me three times...

Availability - Mostly sold out?
Pricing - all over the place
Rating - 80 (diluted only)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Kilkerran 15 year old 2004 Fino Wood single cask

Like the 15yo Oloroso cask I reviewed more than two years ago, Glengyle distillery management made a grownup decision to move this whisky from its first cask into a more neutral vessel after 10 years. In this case, they poured the Kilkerran single malt out of a first-fill Fino puncheon into a refill hoggie. Many (or most) of today's bottlers would likely have kept the whisky in the first-fill for the full 15 years, then bottled coffee-dark oak juice because that's what brings the boys to the yard.

My question is, where's the rest of that puncheon's outturn?

Also to note, the aforementioned Oloroso cask was bottled for the entire American market. Today's cask was bottled for one European retailer. So it goes.

Distillery: Glengyle
Owner: Mitchell's Glengyle Limited
Brand: Kilkerran
Region: Campbeltown
Age: 15 years (May 2004 - September 2019)
Maturation: 10 years in a first-fill Fino puncheon, then 5 years in a refill bourbon hogshead
Outturn: 222 bottles
Bottled for: The Nectar's 15th Anniversary
Alcohol by Volume: 52.1%
(from a bottle split)


The nose starts off with the same mix of clay, smoked fish, and orange candy as Monday's 16 year old, which is both odd and nice. After 20+ minutes it takes on its own characteristics. New tennis ball, baked apple, and orange blossoms up front; saline and coffee in the back. Hints of hazelnuts and brazil nuts appear later. WOW, the fino steers the palate, all nuts and salt. Tangy limes and serrano chiles fill the midground, dusty smoke and dried cherries the background. Limes, hazelnuts, almonds and chile oil merge in the finish.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose feels more focused here, with toasted walnuts and pecans bathed in molasses, and a hint of lemon in the backgound. The palate's a bit woodier, but not brutal. Bitterness doesn't conquer all. Walnuts, molasses and salt sit atop mild industrial smoke. The finish matches the palate, without too much tannic interruption.


As with its Oloroso Wood sibling, this whisky's cask has fully taken over. There's very little Kilkerran left in this Kilkerran. Yet I still like the result. There are actual Fino notes here. One can pick out individual nut species in the nose and mouth, with the salt giving them all a boost. Though sherry cask whiskies get a pass from Winesky Haters, I have no trouble telling you that this is indeed a winesky, but one I like, one that is still very "whisky" in its structure, but driven by its fortified wine cask. Thank goodness it didn't spend any more time in that puncheon.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87