Kilkerran Heavily Peated

New release day for anything related to Mitchell’s Glengyle is always something that creates a stir in the whisky community. Kilkerran bottlings are no exception and this heavily peated version was particularly hyped up online, so I reserved a bottle and collected it on release day to be sure of not missing out.

I was thinking of writing another review where I start by waxing on about how great Springbank et al are in general, but I’ve done that in a couple of previous reviews and the general love for the distillery is self-evident from their online fan base. There’s even a facebook group called It’s All About Springbank that managed to bottle and release their own cask of 25 year old Springbank, which is far and above most people’s commitment to a distillery.

Instead I think I’ll briefly mention the fact that this is a £36.95 bottle and comes at 59.3% cask strength, and even considering the fact it can’t be much older than 3 years that’s a bargain price. They could also have released it at 46% which would have been more than acceptable for the money, so take a moment once again to be grateful for the Mitchell’s ethos.

On to the review…

Neat (and remember this is near-as-dammit 60%) there’s very little alcohol burn compared to something like Glenfarclas 105 which is also young and 60%. I’m pleased to say that the 80ppm peating level has made it pretty intact into the bottle as there’s nice hit of sharp, dry peat like a wood fire. The main notes on the nose aside from big peat are a cut grass or straw aroma, with citrus fruits and grapefruit with vanilla and some slight smoked bacon.

The palate is pretty spirit driven which is unsurprising, with plenty of maltiness and a hint of ginger biscuit. The peat continues in the form of tangy barbecued pineapple. Water brings light honey and barley sugar.

The finish is pretty long, and fades to lemon icing sugar after the big tangy peat explosion abates.

It’s really lovely stuff, and fantastically drinkable at full strength. It takes water very well too, though, so experiment to find your preference. The obvious thing to do is to find it’s nearest comparable Islay distillery, which I’d pick out to be Ardbeg in this case due to the lovely, smoky, dry style of peat and big ABV.

An extremely promising start. I hope they release a batch per year until it reaches maybe 10 years old and then incorporate it into the permanent lineup which Kilkerran currently has more than enough room for. Expect further releases to lose a little of the peat with age, but gain some depth from cask influence.

91/100

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