Photo from www.facebook.com/KilkerranSingleMal
These days, just about anybody can be a whisky reviewer. You pen your tasting notes, give it a rating and post it on social media. However, very, very few are as influential as whiskyfun.com’s Serge Valentin. When he says a whisky is good, it usually is.
We read some reviews on Kilkerran’s WIP (work in progress) bottlings on whiskyfun and found out that Serge gave the Bourbon Wood finished expressions a high 91. Scores in the 90s are very rare, especially for modern expressions. So it was a nice surprise.
What’s even more surprising was that these 91 pointers are available in Singapore, at an excellent price to boot! The Kilkerran WIP 5, 6 and 7 are all available at Quaich Bar. On their website, whiskystore.com.sg, these bottles are listed at (just) S$168.
(All 91-pointers: Kilkerran WIP 5, 6 and 7.)
With this in mind, we went down to Quaich Bar to know a little more about the distillery.
Kilkerran whiskies are produced by Mitchell’s Glengyle distillery, but they can’t call their bottlings ‘Glengyle’ because the rights to that name belongs to the Lomond Distillery.
Mitchell’s Glengyle distillery was established in 1872, but ceased operations in 1925. It stayed dormant for 75 years, before the buildings were bought by Mitchell’s Glengyle Limited, headed by Mr Hedley Wright, chairman of J&A Mitchell and Co Ltd, and great-great nephew of William Mitchell, original founder of Glengyle. This is why, they often market themselves as the “newest, old distillery in Campbeltown.” In March 25, 2004, the distillery was officially open.
If you do the simple math, they are going to have their first core release, a 12-year-old bottling, this year. August, to be exact. Before this, the distillery launched a series of WIP bottlings. The WIP 1 was launched in 2009, WIP 2 in 2010 and so on.
The guys at Quaich Bar gave us a rundown of the various WIPs. I went backwards (WIP 7, 6, 5, 4, then WIP 2), when I should be going the other direction. But in any case, the potential of this distillery is really immense.
For Scotch whisky that’s matured in Scotland (as opposed to accelerated maturation in India or Taiwan), the young spirits displayed plenty of complexity, without too much harsh, raw notes. It was a quick tasting, so I didn’t have a chance to slowly unfold the whiskies. But in short, I like what I’ve tasted.
From his notes, I see that Serge Valentin loves the mineral, smokey, briney and rather fruity nature of Kilkerran whiskies, particularly those matured in bourbon casks, and thinks that they are the only distillery that can produce this style. I think the complexity and refreshing nature of Kilkerran whiskies (compared to their modern counterparts) are the factors that nudged Valentin to give it really high scores.
I’ll post my tasting notes on the appropriate section of this website once I have the chance to sit down with my WIP 7. Till then, you may want to grab a bottle or two yourself before news of the distillery gets out and it becomes really popular.
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Reviews at whiskyfun.com: