In case you were hibernating in January 2020 and woke up just now to read this review, be warned that a pandemic has changed a few things in the world. For example, whisky festivals – with their cheerful corollary of boozing tourists, hotel speculation and high-priced bottlings going crazy at auction – have not been held. Before you get the urge to hibernate again, because a world without whisky festivals makes no sense, please consider that the annual celebratory bottlings have remained. And therefore, your money can still be spent unrestrainedly on collecting bottles on internet. For example, you might come across this 14-year-old Kilkerran for the “Virtual Open day” in 2020. Triple distilled, full grade and aged in refill bourbon casks. Let’s see what it’s like, there’s always time to get back into the freezer until the next useful Campbeltown festival.
N: very pleasant from the start, even if not immediately expressive. Very delicate (the abv is not noticeable), it opens with a very fresh sensation of freshly ironed sheets. Then sober notes of paradise cake, icing sugar, frosted almond paste. You can feel the cereal, sweet and crunchy, with clear herbaceous and vegetal veins (white musk and fern). Cedar, yellow apple and a hint of minerality, like chalk dust. The water opens up a lot, and gives back the complexity we were looking for, with slightly coastal notes and the fruity and creamy part shoots up and reaches unreachable heights. The final epiphany is curious: chlorine!
P: consistent with the nose, despite the triple distillation it remains very oily and coating, but also quite direct: the abv is noticeable but not overpowering. It starts off with a liquid and delicate pastry sweetness – shortcrust pastry, cream pastries with pineapple, more vanilla and almond. Perhaps it is this sweetness that lurches a little on the curve, with a hint of pistachio confectionery. The fruit ranges from pineapple to peach, with plantains in the front row. The mineral component is more on the sidelines, not a sharp palate. It closes with a hint of liquorice candy. The water, as above, shifts a lot and lets the sweet part explode, opening up to the minerality, which becomes decidedly chalky.
F: the peat component appears only here, fully, with a dry, acrid minerality. Here the barley grain returns and in general a sense of vegetable. A touch of salt, finally.
Clean, very clean indeed, very pleasant and in some ways ‘pandering’, even if nice and direct. If you like, it remains a little less complex compared to the classic Kilkerran profile, since the whole peat and coastal component is kind of missing (it only emerges with lots of water, and not too wild either), but it is certainly nice and pleasantissimo. Pleasantissimo? Yes, pleasantissimo: while you were hibernating here we patented new words like there was no tomorrow. 86/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Ted Nugent – Hibernation