I was very excited when the first Kilkerran Work In Progress was released. I bought a bottle, and was then rather disappointed by it. I've tasted every Work In Progress since, and I've come to the conclusion that Kilkerran shouldn't be drunk young.
Indeed, while I'm moderately keen on the 12 Year Old, I have a feeling that it'll be much better once it gets up to 15 or 16. Of course, this won't stop me drinking the 12, for reasons given below.
The nose is herbal or grassy. It's also sweet - somewhere between honey and syrup. I do find it a little bit spirity, alas.
Initially it seemed very grassy or hay-like, perhaps even barnyard-y, but over time it becomes less grassy.
There is a wee bit of iron or old engines (what I call the true Campbeltown goût). There's the merest trace of oak spice - these'll be refill casks by the taste.
The palate is rounded, easy going, not obviously peated in any way. There is a little woody spice, but it's very gentle, and really the grassy notes dominate.
In conclusion: I really like the texture, which is slightly mouth coating, although not quite what you could call oily.
It's interesting to compare this dram with my notes from a year ago. It seems clear to me that the legendary Springbank batch effect is in evidence. This year I can't find even a trace of peat, whereas last year I noted, "tangy sharp brown sugar smoke".
I like that this malt is not coloured and non chill filtered, and from a family owned distillery which does everything on site. Given the extra costs involved in the small scale production of Mitchell's Glengyle, I reckon it's a total bargain.
The distillery is Glengyle, but the brand is Kilkerran, for tedious legal reasons.
Glengyle makes lightly peated (except when it's not) malt by double distillation (except when it's triple distilled).
Glengyle distillery operated from Victorian times through to about 1930, when it, along with nearly all of the Campbeltown distilleries closed. It was refurbished and reopened in 2004 by J&A Mitchell, owners of Springbank, and staff from that establishment run Glengyle on a part time basis.
The ostensible reason as given by J&A Mitchell for the re-opening of Glengyle is that the Scotch Whisky Association was planning to introduce a rule that a whisky region could only be a region if there were three or more distilleries operating in that region.
This has always seemed like nonsense to me, and I've never been able to find any documentary evidence for it, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong. Anybody?