More Kilkerran, already? Well yes, on the same day that I published my review of the new Kilkerran Heavily Peated #3, TWE delivered a couple of samples kits that I ordered ahead of the (virtual) Whisky Show. One of them is for a Kilkerran tasting and to my surprise it contained of the sample of the yet-to-be-released Kilkerran 16 Year Old. I just couldn’t keep that closed until the show.
Kilkerran 16 Years will be the oldest expression so far. It is a combination of 98% ex-bourbon casks and 2% Madeira casks.
In the same tasting pack there is also a 54% ABV sample of a Kilkerran 2004 Madeira cask, something we’ve seen in their ‘first six casks’ series as well. It is lovely, showing a sweet-and-sour note, raspberry and plums, with a light farmy edge. I was very pleasantly surprised, easily more flavoursome and complex than the 12.
Kilkerran 16 Year Old (46%, OB 2020)
Nose: similar to the 12 Years, really, more than just the same DNA. The same combination of minerals, lemons, digestive biscuits and earthy notes. Linseed oil, herbs. What I recognize from the Madeira cask is the slight sour edge. If I’m forced to pull them apart, I’d say this 16 Years is brighter, slightly grassier (bourbon wood) and slightly more floral. More zesty citrus and lacking the slightly winey sherried touch that you get in the younger version.
Mouth: more different now, there’s really an extra layer of sweetness and (subtle) dried fruits on top of the sooty, mineral, peppery spirit character. It’s less austere than the 12, a significant step up in terms of balance and complexity. Still lots of Mediterranean herbs (thyme, rosemary) and brine, alongside the earthy peat.
Finish: long, more towards minerals again, with some oak and a hint of chocolate.
It’s funny how 4 years and 2% of Madeira can change a whisky. Not so much on the nose but on the palate in this case. Kilkerran 16 Years is more complex, slightly more rounded and less rigidly mineral. Not necessarily next level, the differences aren’t huge, just a slightly rounder profile. But boy, I can’t wait to try more single Madeira casks!
The bottle isn’t available yet, but if you want to be part of that Whisky Show tasting, order your sample kit from The Whisky Exchange.