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Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Bourbon

Malty happiness

5 688

@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

17th Jul 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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After production at the new Glengyle distillery began in 2004, the company released a number of "work-in-progress" (WIP) bottlings, starting with the 1st release in 2009 and ending with the two 7th releases (Bourbon Wood and Sherry Wood) in 2015. This review looks at the bourbon cask-matured edition of WIP 7, distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2015 - I am not sure by the way whether this is ten or eleven years old. The WIP 7 Bourbon Wood was bottled at cask strength with a total output of 6,000 bottles.

The nose is intensely malty and a bit spicy to begin with. Next, there are notes of cereal and vanilla, together with cinnamon and orange flavours. Then the lemon flavours take centre stage, followed by hints of salt and cardboard.

The palate is full-bodied, malty, and just a bit zesty. There are plenty of lemon and vanilla flavours, followed by white pepper, vanilla, and again a touch of salt.

The finish is long and a little dry. The lemon flavours appear once more, together with a touch of grass.

I am very, very impressed with this whisky. In terms of its flavour profile I find it to be similar to the 12-year core range bottling, however the high ABV helps bring out the quality of the distillate so much better than the watered down version. It is very smooth to drink despite cask strength and is superbly balanced. If you are a fan of malty and somewhat austere whiskies (I like to call this "old school"), you will love this one. My favourite Kilkerran so far!

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MadSingleMalt commented

@Pierre_W , I don't think Kilkerran ever made any official claims about the age of any of the WIPs. It was sorta "common knowledge" that each one's age was its edition number + 4, due to WIP #1 being released 5 years after Kilkerran started distilling and each subsequent WIP coming annually thereafter. And that adds up, given that your WIP #7 here came out the year before the 12 debuted. But again, that's nothing official. The only ages I've seen imputed to the WIPs came from third parties, like retailers.

Kilkerran has the following wiggle room:

•The "common knowledge" year depends on the distillation anniversary having passed when they bottled each new edition. That's just a small technicality, but I think it's what you're referring to when you mull the difference between it being 10 and 11 years old. Plus, it's impossible that all the WIPs came from the very first run of spirit in March 2004, so that gets a little fuzzy: A WIP # 7 bottled in, say, mid-March 2015 could be 10 or 11 years old, depending on which run of 2004 distillate it's from†. And that's still assuming all the WIPs are from 2004 distillate, which takes me to my next point.

•Although we all trust the Springbank folks making this stuff to be honest & forthright, I don't think they've ever even claimed that all the WIPs were distilled in 2004. It's just an assumption we all have. I expect it was all distilled in 2004 given the concept of this WIP series, but it didn't have to be.

All that said, I imagine the WIP # was in fact 11 years old and they just did an endearingly poor job labeling it.

† Additional tidbit: As the story goes, the Springbank folks only distill at Kilkerran one month out of the year, so it's less likely that we're facing little tricks about distillate birthdays and a bottling maybe only being something like "10 years and 11.5 months old."

3 years ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

And thanks for noting the output! I don't think I'd ever put much attention on that, but now I see all the output numbers on the Kilkerran site. Funny how it varies from edition to edition. I wonder how they chose a size for each edition. And the distribution must have been uneven on top of that—the numbers they produced seem to have no bearing how available each one was, at least by me.

And #7 Bourbon CS was the smallest—I wouldn't have guessed that! It sure got the most attention on the online whisky web.

3 years ago 0

KRB80 commented

Thanks for the review. You're making me pine for this whisky even more! ;)

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

Misty commented

One of my favorites...

3 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

@MadSingleMalt, many thanks for your interesting comments. You certainly are up to the mark when it comes to Kilkerran!

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

Pierre_W commented

@KRB80, I would indeed give it a try. You will not be disappointed. Love it!

3 years ago 0

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