Kilkerran 8 year old Bourbon Casks (2023) & Kilkerran 8 year old Sherry Casks (2023)


Today we’re taking a bullet for everyone by reviewing the latest two kilkerran 8yo cask strength releases…

Kilkerran 8 year old Bourbon Casks (2023)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 55.8%

Price: £57.00

The first of this years two Kilkerran 8yo cask strength releases was matured exclusively in Bourbon casks.

Nose

Initially on the nose there’s honey, light peat smoke and tangerines. Giving it a little time in the glass reveals more vanilla sweetness from the cask as well as tar, Walkers ham and mustard flavour crisps, costal sea air, salt, and brown vinegar. It’s a touch simple, but still very promising, given the distilleries pedigree we’re unsurprised.

Palate

Initially there’s tangerines, lemon juice and caramelised brown sugar. It’s not as smoky as expected from the nose, but we’re getting some peat appearing on the finish along with ginger snap biscuits that linger on for a good length. It’s got a good mouthfeel. If we were to offer a critique it’s maybe just a touch too spicy for us. As we go back to it we notice a nice apple crumble sweetness appearing.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out some burning embers on the nose along with a little Campbeltown funk. It’s a little less sweet now, but no less enticing. There’s also a warehouse muskiness, some red apples and a perfume / floral note. It also smells a touch more alcoholic with water.

Palate (with water)

Water brings the alcohol spice more into balance, while pushing the peat into the background, and bringing the citric notes to the fore. As we go back to it a meatiness develops along with a little bitter grapefruit. The finish remains a good length, just with less smoke. The mouthfeel is still good.

Conclusion

A solid addition to the Kilkerran range, and if you managed to get a bottle then congratulations. Saying that while it’s good, it fails to clear the exceptional high bar set by the distilleries other releases.

Score: 8/10


Kilkerran 8 year old Sherry Casks (2023)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 57.5%

Price: £57.00

The second of this years two Kilkerran 8yo cask strength releases was matured exclusively in Sherry casks.

Nose

Initially we’re getting a meatier sherry on the nose. Saying that it’s more restrained than we were expecting. As it sits in the glass a hint of cola and cloves develop along with some smoke. As we sit with it we can't help but notice an a sweetness we’d expect to see from a bourbon cask. It has a good nose and with time it develops a nice mix of smoke (burning newspapers) and sweetness like plums, and chocolate.

Palate

The alcohol is in better balance than the bourbon cask release. There’s smoke for a fleeting second then the sherry takes over. There’s a touch of sourness, but it’s nicely balanced by the sweeter notes. We’re getting toffee brittle, dark chocolate, and Quality Street coffee cremes. It’s got a good length finish with a hit of sweetness before the smoke makes a reappearance in the form of cigarette ash along with ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom spice. Nice mouthfeel.

Nose (with water)

Water bring out more of the smoke along with some meat and Indian spices. The sweetness has been pushed into the background, and we’re now getting more traditional sherry notes i.e. raisins and treacle. We’re still finding it an intriguing nose.

Palate (with water)

The Sherry really takes over the dram with with water, it not bad but has become a little less complex. There’s now aniseed, and liquorice along with brown sugar, raisins and smoke. Finish remains a good length and the mouthfeel is also still good.

Conclusion

The bourbon cask was good, but this years Sherry release takes first place. It’s not quite as good as the 8yo re-charred Sherry release from a few years back, but it’s still a cracking dram...

Score: 8.5/10

We’ve reviewed a fair few Kilkerran releases now and because our scale takes in to consideration price you’ll find several of these have been given the same score. If you’re interested the below is a list of the bottles in order of preference ignoring price.

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  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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