Similar to the 8 yo, this is most definitely a powerhouse of a whisky. On the neckpour it was even all about the wood, but fortunately with a bit of air in the bottle, it started to open up nicely. Which brings me to the bourbon finish. Little theory: this was initially put into a very active Fino sherry cask, so active in fact that a bit of toning down in a refill bourbon cask was necessary to prevent the whisky from being completely overwhelmed by the sherry and wood influence. While the bourbon cask did help to restore some balance, it still is a beast of a whisky. If I were to put it head to head with the 8 yo, I think I might give it to the younger sibling (by a margin, but still) which is a bit more versatile in my opinion. Nonetheless, a brilliant, bold, badass whisky.
This isn’t what you would call subtle. A rather overwhelming sense of wood and deep notes of dry sherry. That’s all there was the first 15 or so minutes after pouring. Luckily, giving it some time, and after your nose has come to terms with this attack on the olfactory system, it really started to shine, with sultanas, raisins, plums, chocolate and a bit of a nutty element.
A drop of water (or two, or three) really helps. It’s more ‘lively’ (less dried fruit, fresher on the wood), and while the fruit and sherry still jump out, there are also some faint hints of grassy/herbal notes I’ve come to associate with the Kilkerran signature that I couldn’t pick up before.
It still remains an explosion of wood and sherry, and while this is ‘only’ 52.1% ABV, it still does some of the talking with a bit of a sting at first. So again, after giving it more time, the nuts, chocolate and dried red fruits emerged to put some balance into this beast. Here, the added water delivers a more prominent funk note to help accentuate the nuts and chocolate.
Long, dry, woody with a hint of chocolate and the added water helps to soften things out a bit. Like on the nose, it becomes less dry and the dominant woodnote is subdued somewhat to allow the nuts and chocolate to come forth.