Kilkerran is the name given to the current output of the Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown which was recently revamped and reopened, with its first distillations taking place in only 2004. While the region was once the very centre of the whisky industry in Scotland, it now boasts only three operating distilleries. The best known of these is, of course, Springbank and indeed it is the owners of this great distillery that are championing the revival of Glengyle, and its dedicated staff that are producing the new spirit.
This bottling is the second release in the distillery’s "Work in Progress" series which started in 2009 with a 5 year old and is now into its third yearly release, aged 7. The spirit style is broadly similar to that produced at Springbank distillery with lengthy fermentation times and a number of idiosyncratic traits leading to a style of make rarely produced today. This densely oily and quite austere whisky is increasingly uncommon, and with continued automation and time pressure throughout the industry we are unlikely to see this change. Certainly a sad thought for those of us who love it so.
Kilkerran "Work in Progress" 2nd edition
6 year old, June 2010, 46% abv
Clearly youthful with early aromas of buttery cereal and a hint of bubble gum. It doesn’t take long for the oily, old fashioned character commonly found in whisky produced by the Springbank team to show itself, though. Apple skins, lemon oil, citrus pith and a whiff of burnt hay start things off and are followed by some lovely grassy suggestions of young goats cheese, hessian, a little chalk and a dusty minerality. Some nice sandy, coastal notes start to build over time which typifies this oily “old school” spirit style.
Beautifully vibrant and waxy/oily on delivery with a little paraffin leading to the buttery cereal and apple skins found on the nose, though now joined by a nice yeasty note. Some zesty lemon, linseed oil, faint smoke and vanilla develops through the mid palette and is sustained towards the finish. All rather old school, young and fortunately not doped with very active oak.
Supple, coating and richly oily.
Medium length and remaining on a mix of oils and light hay/grassy suggestions. Some nice coastal notes of brine and limestone persist throughout.
These youngsters from Glengyle are certainly a prominent flag in the sand for the future, and it is hard to deny that if you enjoy the quite difficult, rather "un-sexy" style found in both this and Springbank’s offerings then there are few other places to turn at this price. Personally speaking, it’s a huge pleasure to see whiskies such as this reminding us of many stunning releases bottled in the late 60s or 70s. Who knows how good these youngsters might be with similar bottle aging?
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