This is the 2021 edition of Kilkerran 8 Years Cask Strength that is starting to appear on the shelves as we speak. Like the 2019 release this was aged in Oloroso sherry casks, though apparently not re-charred this time.
Kilkerran 8 yo Cask Strength (56,9%, OB 2021)
Nose: old-school sherry, dry and leafy, with sooty smoke, hints of chocolate and roasted chestnuts, as well as some bits of bacon. Also rubbery notes and a case of spent matchsticks. Wet earthy notes, cinnamon and light herbal / minty touches. Blackberries, mocha and cigar boxes in the background. A style that I’ve personally never had from Kilkerran, but that’s obviously close to what we’re getting from Springbank.
Mouth: while I didn’t have a problem with the nose, now it dials up the smoky, sooty, charred and also sulphury notes. Meaty notes mixed with forest fruit jam, chocolate, cinnamon pastry and cloves. Candied ginger. Burnt caramel. Also a winey, rather tannic edge.
Finish: very long, still having this sweet and sour winey side, as well as dark brew coffee, smoke and some peppery oak.
This is a deep flavour bomb (impressive for an 8 year-old) with full-on dirty smoke, but I don’t feel the balance is entirely right. I find both the heavily charred, sulphury traces and the winey side a bit disturbing. It popped up at Master of Malt and other stores but it’s gone already. Other retailers will certainly follow, maybe keep an eye on The Whisky Exchange or check other countries.