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Kilkerran 12 Year Old

Omnia mutantur

7 1388

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

16th Jan 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Glengyle distillery is owned by the Mitchell family...who also own Springbank. Call it naiveté but that was enough to get me to buy a bottle. It's not cheap for a 12 Year Old, even by Ontario standards, but name brand recognition goes a long way, I guess. I may have to stop criticizing THE Macallan and its customers if this keeps up.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted): Green apples, fresh cut flowers, candied ginger, salted caramel, a little vegetal funk (Peat?) in the background, just a hint of smoke developing
  • Palate (Undiluted): richer than expected, with a delectable waxy texture, ripe pears, a touch of smoke, a bit of orange zest
  • Finish: medium length, a touch of nuttiness, hazelnuts maybe, then milk chocolate, yielding to a little minerality (slightly chalky), charred lemons, a touch of pepper and ginger lingering, ending on a light vanilla note.

With water, there's less waxiness, but a bit more smoke coming through. However the flavours aren't as clear with water added. This is definitely better neat. The bottle has changed over time, with the waxiness fading and the smoke becoming more prominent. If I buy another bottle (quite likely), I believe I'll use Private Preserve, as I really liked that waxy component. But it's always a worthwhile experiment to see what time and air exposure do to a whisky. I probably would have rated the first 1/3 of this bottle about 89-90 points. After a few months of air exposure I still like it, but not as much as before, maybe 86-87 points. So I'll split the difference here.

Related Kilkerran reviews


RianC commented

Nice review @OdysseusUnbound! From memory I'd agree about the water as well. Seems something all 'Springbanks' are prone to not taking too much water (or is that just me?).

I also wonder if @Nozinan's sample had possibly got a bit too much air/movement and that had affected it?

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

Hewie commented

Interesting that you say it's not cheap for a 12 YO - it's priced very well here and significantly cheaper than Springbank. I definitely preferred the first 1/2 of my bottle - it seems to have lost some freshness and zip as I've drunk it down (without being gassed). I love some of the descriptors from the review by @RianC "coal smeared lemons" and "like licking a lathe that's had lemons smeared on it". I think my bottle has tasted more industrial (like a machine room) as it's aged. I think it's a fantastic whisky that offers a lot for the price (here).

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Hewie It’s $95 CAD here, whereas a typical range for an entry-level offering is $60-$80. Now THE Macallan and THE Dalmore charge $100 for their 12 year old offerings (Double Cask in THE Macallan’s case) and I think Kilkerran 12 beats the pants off the two aforementioned whiskies. I will gas my next bottle to see if it keeps more of that beautiful waxiness. Either way, I was impressed...with the whisky, not so much the price.

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@OdysseusUnbound nice review, I really liked the first batch of this when it was released, I had it tied with Ben10 as chameleon malt. I didn't get a chance to buy a bottle at the time, it sold out rather fast at around 75$ which in hindsight was reasonable.

Would you say you prefer Springbank 10 over this?

5 months ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

@cricklewood I’d choose Springbank 10. It’s a bit bigger and bolder than Killerran 12. Lucky for me, I can have both!!!

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

RikS commented

@OdysseusUnbound aoch. I feel for you. It's $60 CAD in London

4 months ago 1Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

@OdysseusUnbound, I agree: Kilkerran 12 is a fine whisky, but Springbank 10 is better.

Have you had the 8 CS? I believe you like some high-octane drams, so you should give it a whirl if you get a chance. As long as the 12 and the 8 CS are Kilkerran's options, all my money will be going to the 8 CS.

4 months ago 5Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@MadSingleMalt Lucky for me, a friend sent along a generous (50ml) sample of the Kilkerran 8 Cask Strength. Looking forward to trying it.

4 months ago 1Who liked this?

KRB80 commented

Hmm...Am I the only one who actually prefers the Kilkerran 12 over the Springbank 10? They are both phenomenal and the best drams at their respective pricepoint for me; akin to 1a and 1b. They both are unmistakenly from the same family tree as well but the K12 just hits on something unexplainable for me. There is so much going on and it changes with each dram poured from the bottle. The SB10 seems a tad artificially sweet compared to it (Don't overblow this statement, however).

I also prefer the K12 over the K8CS. I'm on my 4th bottle of K12 and saving one bottle of the 1st release for years down the road if I get there. While I did like it, I wasn't that blown away with the K8CS bottle that I had (1st release) but am eager to buy another bottle and it give'er another whirl.

I'd say that the K12 is my favorite single malt under $90, where at that point the crown goes to the mighty SB12CS.

4 months ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

For me SB 10 is cheaper, better and good to the last drop. I've had two K12s and I agree with @OdysseusUnbound that it doesn't hold up as well to extended storage after opening. It needs to be knocked off fairly quickly as opposed to sitting for several months half empty.

4 months ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

SB 10 over Kilkerran 12 all day for me but they are both quality malts I'd be more than happy to have on a desert Island. Were I only able to buy those two whiskys I'd probably buy the SB 3:1.

I'm also surprised that you Canadians get Kk at higher prices than SB - certainly doesn't seem the norm although there's only about a £5 difference here in the UK. What surprises me most here about Kk is just how cheap they put it out at. Big kudos to the Mitchell's for that!

A quick MoM check has Kk 12 at £33.90 - that's superb value right there.

4 months ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@RianC We can only wish for prices like that here. I wonder how the Brexit fiasco will affect prices for you Brits. They may go down if the Europeans inflict some tariffs on whisky imports and more product stays at home. Slightly iffy logic there, but who knows.

4 months ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@BlueNote - Aye, I'm the first to whinge about the price of whisky but there are still some great deals about for UK bound folk.

As for Brexit . . . I'm not even sure God knows what's going on there smile I'd like to think that we'd see some ££ benefits as they're home grown products but, well, it will be interesting. I'd imagine if we end up with the 'Canada (WTO) option' exports are going to get very pricey.

4 months ago 0

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