Kilkerran Work in Progress 5, 46%: Bourbon vs. Sherry wood

Ever since Kilkerran turned 3 years old they’ve been releasing their Work in Porgress bottlings every year. The first official and regular bottling of Kilkerran will be released when it’s ten years old, together with the bottlings the early investors will get. I believe they get 6 differently matured bottles with a slew of sample to taste before opening.

This year Kilkerran (from the Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown) released two instead of one bottling to display the early differences between sherry and bourbon wood used for maturation. This year’s editions are, logically, 9 years old (Logically because it’s the sixth  fifth release and the first one was 3 5 years old).

Kilkerran Work in Progresses

Kilkerran Work in Progresses

Bourbon cask:
It’s pretty thick and rich on the nose with leather. It’s fairly simple with a hint of cheese. The palate shows more fierceness than I expected, but is lighter too. Some lemon and coconut. The finish isn’t very exciting and pretty short. It mixes the heaviness of the nose and the unexpected freshness of the palate. With a drop of water it becomes much more salty to a level that it’s almost fishy.

Sherry cask:
The profile has the same backbone as the bourbon variety, but is even heavier. The sherry influence brings a certain nuttiness which happens more often in young sherry releases. It’s kind of sharp with hints of mustiness. The palate is sharp too, but quite rich. The sherry is very present with dried apricots and other fruits. The finish of this one mellows quickly but lasts longer.

While I expected the bourbon cask to get more of my liking, that didn’t happen. I didn’t find that whisky very exciting and the strange heaviness is not something I enjoy in this whisky. The sherry cask has a lot of similarities on the nose but improves as you continue tasting it. I didn’t enjoy the scents very much, but the flavours are rather lovely.

A very interesting experience, but not one that convinces me to be overly enthousiastic about Kilkerran yet. I think I remember the first Work in Progress bottling to be younger, but a lot more enjoyable. We’ll just have to wait to see what next year brings when the 10 year old comes out!

Kilkerran Work in Progress 5, 46%, bourbon cask. At De Whiskykoning for € 45.50
Kilkerran Work in Progress 5, 46%, sherry cask. At De Whiskykoning for € 47.00

These were the two drams I missed when I was late to the tasting two weeks ago. I finally caught up now and can continue tomorrow with the French Whisky Twitter Tasting hosted by Franck Debernardi from La Cave de Cobalt.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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8 Responses to Kilkerran Work in Progress 5, 46%: Bourbon vs. Sherry wood

  1. David S says:

    Pretty much my feeling on them too.

  2. Diego says:

    Are you sure these weren’t Work in Progress 5s??
    And i think the first WiP (2009) may have been a 5 YO?

  3. I am with David S here, I had more or less the same experience with this distillery

  4. Piet says:

    Serge does not agree Sjoert … very different to say the least

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