Monday, January 16, 2023

Kilkerran 16 Year Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

- $140
- 92 Proof
- 16 Years
- Campbeltown

While I feel like I've been grabbing many Islay and other peated Scotches lately, particularly some of the more limited releases from Ardbeg and Laphroaig, I still have a big soft spot in my heart for Campbeltown single malts. They, of course, have that peat that I so desire. But, there's just something else to them that has always drawn them in.

What it is exactly, I haven't yet been able to quite put my thumb on. There's just a certain "dusty" quality, a kind of funk that I don't get out of other peated whiskeys. Perhaps it's all in my head, and in my mind I've built up Campbeltown Scotches to be more unique than they are. But, the fact of the matter is I continue to love everything that comes out of that region. So, I was thrilled when I was finally able to grab one of these 16 year Kilkerran's off the shelf. 

On the nose, that peated smoky noted was present, but certainly not overpowering. It was a bit subtle and allowed other notes to come through. The nose beyond the smoke was lemony and malty. It had a certain graham cracker and honey note to it, even bready at times. It also had some brighter, almost tropical notes, including apricot and a sweet orange marmalade note. 

Much like the nose, the peat wasn't overpowering. It was there, to be sure. But it didn't try to overtake the other flavors that were happening, and seemed to act as more of a complement to the malt itself, including allowing its sweetness to come through. It was a natural sweetness, kind of like honey, but lighter and crisper, if that makes any sense at all. 

The graham cracker from the nose certainly came through on the palate, along with a brown sugar note and some notes of vanilla. In fact, as I worked through my bottle, that vanilla note seemed to come more and more forward with each new pour. The malt notes seemed to shine a bit as well, with the flavor of a fresh, crisp pilsner.

Behind all of that was a brighter, citrus-like note, much like I was getting off the nose. It wasn't as jammy and sweet as marmalade, but it certainly came across as a bright, fresh orange note. In fact, that flavor seemed to stick around for the finish, along with the malt notes and even just a bit of peat, leaving quite a yummy taste in my mouth after each sip.

The price is a bit steep, as it tends to be on just about any Campbeltown offering these days, but I thought this single malt was absolutely delicious, full of flavor and yet subtle all at once.

Grade: B+

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