Cadenheads Kilkerran Heavily Peated 8yo & Cadenheads Kilkerran 14yo Authentic Collection April 2024


We're looking at two single cask, peated Kilkerrans, bottled by Scotland's oldest independent bottler, Cadenheads.

Cadenheads Kilkerran Heavily Peated 8yo

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 59.6%

Price: £70.00

First up is a 8yo Kilkerran that was distilled in 2015 and matured in an oloroso Butt until April 2024.

Nose

The nose opens with a buffet of barbecued meats, ribs, ham, brisket, alongside a smoked fruit salad consisting of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. The sherry influence makes itself known in a mellow yet prominent way, sitting in the background giving light red fruit, dark chocolate and nut aromas alongside the heavily peated Kilkerran spirit.

Palate

The palate opens up with the expected peat smoke, heavy flavours of tar, oil and burnt oak move into sweeter fruits.. red berry compote, raspberry ripple ice cream and some sponge fingers towards the finish. The mouthfeel is oily, viscous and very pleasant, coating your whole mouth as you swirl it around. The finish also lingers for a good while, a touch of black pepper and cherry jam in really nice balance, especially given the relatively high ABV of the dram.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose continues along the barbecue lines, more of a pork/ham aroma now, glazed in maple syrup. We're also getting some sweet chili sauce, almond marzipan and some of those red fruits appearing in the background. The smoke is definitely still there, perhaps a little mellower than before.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has a lot more upfront sweetness, it's incredibly jammy now, macerated strawberries and raspberries with only a whisper of smoke in the background. It's very fruit forward with a drop of water. The mouthfeel and finish remain mostly the same, and it's still smoky, just a little less so than before.

Conclusion

This is an absolute banger of a whisky. The full term maturation in the oloroso butt provides a near perfect complement to the heavy, oily, smoky Kilkerran spirit. It's impressively balanced, aromatic and flavourful. Wow... and from an 8 year old whisky - who says age is everything?

Score: 8.5/10

Value

Yes, we’d have liked to have seen this a few pounds cheaper, but it definitely does provide bang for your buck.


Cadenheads Kilkerran 14yo Authentic Collection April 2024

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 55.8%

Price: £70.00

Next up is a 14yo Kilkerran that was distilled in 2009 and matured in a bourbon hogshead until November 2023. 234 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with a vegetal peat smoke, and this moves quickly into more of a savoury, meaty like aroma, steaks on the grill, beef jerky, and a little cigarette ash too. Behind this sits some spent coffee grounds, overdone croissants and dusty shelves. It's not overly punchy on the nose, there's a touch of alcohol here, and overall we’re finding it's a little closed off.

Palate

The palate begins with a lot of honeyed sweetness up front, a hint of lemon peel, moving quickly into luscious vanilla flavoured pastry cream with a hint of sweet oak smoke too. The dram has a silky, creamy mouthfeel.. it's very sweet but this is balanced with a bit of oak spice, crushed black pepper and leather handbags. We're getting a little liquorice as the finish comes along, as well as a bit of salted toffee too.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose opens up slightly, with more meaty smoke at the forefront. Honey roast ham, vanilla cream, stripped wood and cured venison all make an appearance. The nose feels a touch drier and woodier now, we preferred it without the addition of water.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate begins with a similar sweetness, but with the addition of much more meaty smoke alongside this. The palate develops into creme caramel, lemon pepper seasoning, mocha coffee and a little bit of white pepper spice.

Conclusion

Initially a bit closed off on the nose, this Kilkerran really shines on the palate. It's got great texture, a mixture of interesting flavours and the smoulders of a recently extinguished log fire sitting underneath all of this. The whiskies' age helps bring this all into balance. We'll go with 7.5/10, narrowly missing an 8 due to the nose not fully expressing what we think it could.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

A 14yo cask strength release is great value irrespective of the distillery.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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