Sankt Kilian in Germany produces single malt whisky in Scottish tradition. The distillery started in 2012, building upon the story of three monks (one of them called Kilian) travelling to Franconia in the 7th century. They also passed by Rüdenau where the distillery is located. Founder Andreas Thümmler was joined by Irish whiskey legend David F. Hynes and master distillery Mario Rudolf.
In May 2019 the team presented its first three year old whisky. They have a classic spirit and a smoky malt (peated to 54ppm phenols). For the base expressions, 70% ages in bourbon casks and 30% in Oloroso / PX sherry casks. Then there’s also a series of numbered signature editions and special bottlings, from Eisbock or cider barrels to cherry wood and Mizunara oak.
Not many independent bottlings exist – most of them didn’t leave Germany anyway. Now The Whisky Jury presents a peated St. Kilian 2019. It comes in the new “re-painted” series with a Van Eyck painting on the label. Interestingly you’ll find an old-school screw cap instead of a cork, nice!
St. Kilian 3 yo 2019 (60,6%, The Whisky Jury 2023, peated, cask #3952, 268 btl.)
Nose: ashy, dusty smoke paired to vanilla sweetness, nougat, bread and a couple of lemons. Juniper notes, light eucalyptus and menthol freshness. Hints of bell pepper. Then some mineral notes appear, alongside touches of leatherette and mud. Water brings out a hint of zip firelighters – not unpleasant here. A nice profile, already exceeding the expectations in terms of complexity. You could probably trick people into thinking this is a young Caol Ila.
Mouth: raw peat smoke now, with a nice sharpness to it but also rounder notes. Leafy, earthy dryness and vegetal notes appear up front. More leather, as well as walnuts, white pepper and mineral notes. Then vanilla and cardamom. The herbal side stays strong. Here water makes it sweeter and fruitier (orange and lemon).
Finish: long, with cold barbecue ashes, grapes and mild oak.
Overall a fine whisky. Nice to see The Whisky Jury is looking beyond the borders of Scotland to find interesting whisky. Moreover, we know he isn’t afraid of bottling youngsters (see his 1 day old Caol Ila). So yes, this was worth bottling already. I believe this is sold out, but you may want to double-check with The Whisky Jury.