Kingsbarns Distillery has been featured twice on these pages. The first time I was utterly impressed, the second time less so. I’m hoping this third review of a Kingsbarns expression will have the arrow pointing upwards again. It’s off their new flagship single malt, Kingsbarns Doocot.
The Kingsbarns Doocot is described as the “natural evolution” of the distillery’s first-ever core range release, Dream to Dram. Doocot will be taking over the mantle and is essentially a longer-matured version of its predecessor, both having spent their time in 90% first-fill ex-bourbon and 10% first-fill STR casks.
Now, I’ve never reviewed or tasted Dream to Dram, so I can’t compare it directly to the new Kingsbarns Doocot. However, I did write about the Kingsbarns Family Reserve, which, if I remember correctly, is essentially a higher-strength version of the Dream to Dram. The Family Reserve is the whisky that initially impressed me so much. Interestingly, I tasted it during a Blind Tasting Competition.
After such a good first impression, I looked forward to trying a different iteration of Kingsbarns’ single malt. I settled on the Kingsbarns Rock Bell, which matured largely in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. Comparatively, I thought it was a bit tame and timid. And less fruity too. As I went in with no expectations for my first Kingsbarns whisky, maybe they were a little too high for the second round.
This time I’m going in as expectation-less as possible.
Kingsbarns Doocot (46%, OB, 2023)
Nose: Hints of vanilla custard and butterscotch with sprinkles of lemon zest. Also some caramel-glazed apples, poached pears and gentle baking spices. Also, light floral touches become more apparent with time, accompanied by a touch of green banana peel, apricots and peaches. Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. The banana makes an encore, but it’s ripe now. Soft notes of white pepper, cloves and lemons follow, along with a gentle oaky bitterness and ginger. There’s some white chocolate, butterscotch and marshmallow too. Finish: Medium length. A tinge of pineapple, candy cotton too, and lemongrass.
The Kingsbarns Doocot is undeniably well put together and it fits a traditional Lowland profile. The slightly bitter, oak-y notes on the palate notwithstanding, this is a rather juicy, highly drinkable single malt.