Kilkerran 16 Years (2020)
It’s a big deal whenever a distillery announces a new core range expression, but even more so with young-ish distilleries. Just last year Arran released their first ever 25-year-old while Benromach presented a new 21-year-old. Each whisky represented a new chapter in these distilleries’ story. Another newly launched single malt fitting that bill is the Kilkerran 16 Years—arguably much more anticipated than the aforementioned duo.
The last time Kilkerran added an ongoing release to their core range was a rousing success. To me the Kilkerran 12 Years immediately became one of the best entry-level single malts available. It’s pretty much a perfect 12-year-old. Since then the distillery has released a multitude of single casks and even a new Work In Progress series for their heavily peated spirit. There’s also an annual cask strength bottling. But in essence the new Kilkerran 16 Years is the first permanent addition to their core range in over four years. And that’s exciting.
The Kilkerran 16 Years is the oldest expression from Glengyle distillery so far. It matured almost exclusively in bourbon casks (96%) with just a bit of Marsala (4%) thrown into the mix.
Kilkerran 16 Years (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Slightly lactic but mostly farmyardy with some fruity and mineral touches. Notes of bung cloth, compost, lemon and hay. A whisper of roasted almonds, pears and coastal notes too. Any smoke has receded very much into the background. Just a touch of rubber in the end.
Taste: Hints of charcoal and minerals with sweet fruits like peach and apricots, but also lychees. It certainly shows a higher level of complexity than the excellent Kilkerran 12 Years. Touches of earthy peat and a nice salinity as well. Somewhat spicy.
Finish: Earthy peat, oranges and a gentle pepperiness. Long.
Sure, I’ll go there. This qualifies as a 90 pointer in my book. With a high-level balance and excellent complexity, this has to be the conclusion. I have many bottles of the 12-year-old stashed away, so I didn’t care to participate in the frenzy to get my hands on its older brother. But maybe I should’ve.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.