Kilkerran is a malt produced at Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown. The original Glengyle distillery was founded by William Mitchell in 1872. Prior to founding Glengyle distillery, William ran nearby Springbank distillery with his brother John. In some sense you can think of Glengyle distillery as an extension of Springbank who is the parent company. Glengyle suffered from economic depression in at the beginning of the 20th century and was sold to West Highland Malt Distilleries Ltd in 1919. Production ceased completely in 1925 at Glengyle and the entire spirit stock was auctioned off in April of that year. Despite it’s dormancy, the Glengyle distillery buildings were rented out for and preserved well during the 20th century. In November 2000, Mitchell Glengyle Limited purchased the distillery. The purchase was headed by Hedley Wright who is the great great nephew of William Mitchell, the original founder. Since it’s founding the distillery has produced a malt dubbed Kilkerran and have released yearly expressions leading up to their twelve year bottling. These early expressions are dubbed ‘work in progress’ and are meant to be a preview of their future official bottlings. Work in progress number five contained two release – one whisky aged in bourbon casks and the other spirit aged in sherry. Only 9000 bottles of each were available worldwide and they’re both bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: muted, sherry, honey, oak, dark chocolate
Mouth: light, sour cherries, green grapes, green apple, toasted cinnamon
Finish: chalky, slightly drying, peppery, medium finish, lingering grape flavors
Verdict: This is a delicious dram and a perfect introduction to sherry aged single malts. The nose is somewhat muted but there are definite sherry notes, honey and dark chocolate. Surprisingly the palate is very green – green apples, green grapes and unripened sour cherries. It’s very light in the mouth and I’d imagine that the sherry flavors will mature with time. This whisky is only about nine years old after all. It’s not a complex palate and lacks a punch, but it’s perfect for daily sipping. The finish is slightly drying and has a chalky texture. Additionally it’s peppery with lingering grape flavors. Kilkerran is doing great work already and they just released a ten year old this year. I’m eager to see how their malt evolves with time and I’m completely nerding out with these ‘work in progress’ releases. If you’re interested in the whisky maturation process I’d highly recommend snatching up a bourbon and sherry aged Kilkerran Work in Progress.