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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

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