I love tasting sets! It is such a terrific way to explore different whiskies – a teasing taste that tells which you want to have more and which was enough to just have that one experience!
In the case of two recent St Kilian tasting sets, their new “standard” expressions are so enjoyable that as soon as I return from Canada to Germany, they’ll be ordered to share with folks back in India (yes – I lead a slightly complicated life, geographically speaking!).
These notes are from a tasting experience in Winnipeg, Canada, where we began our St Kilian experience with this pair:
- Classic – Mild & Fruity 46%
- Peated – Rich & Smoky 46%
Naturally, we began with the “Classic” aka Mild & Fruity.. which indeed lived up to its name!
I’ve tasted this particular expression both in Germany and Canada – loved it both times! Here is an amalgam of both experiences:
- Nose – A happy sunshine aroma – first whiff and yum! It had lovely warm white peaches, apricots, ripe pears, yellow plums, raspberry cream, baked banana bread, red licorice… it reminded us just a little bit of a bunch of juicy fruity gourmet gummy bears! Accompanying all the delicious fruits were some light sweet spices
- Palate – Delicious! Silky smooth and more like a fruit spirit than whisky! Yet richer, with some depth of character giving a firm fabulous foundation to the experience! We found some lovely baked pear tart, caramel drizzled banana cream pie, marzipan, toffee, and vanilla cream with just a hint of something deeper, adding an oak spice and fruit interplay
- Finish – A fabulously fruity and desert-like finish, chased by honey sweetness
In short – yum! It was a veritable fruit basket! The aroma at one point reminded me of a Raspberry soda – the kind that you specifically get at a Parsi wedding! It’s exceedingly “sippable”, with the only danger being an empty glass!
This is MY kind of St Kilian – fruity, fun, and fabulous!
So what goes into creating an expression like this? The folks at St. Kilian shared that their Classic is a combination of different ex-bourbon casks (70%) and Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks (30%).
Their official tasting notes are quite similar to our experience:
- Appearance – Light gold
- Aroma – Multi-layered fruity notes of ripe apricots, peaches, yellow plums and plantains are combined with creamy vanilla to create a sweet blend of fruit, which is accompanied by delicately spicy oak and a delicate herbal note of fresh mint and some sage.
- Taste – Balanced sweetness and at the same time warming with apricots and peaches, creamy toffee and spicy oak aromas, refined with a pinch of piquant white pepper and perfectly rounded off with a hint of fresh mint.
- Finish – Creamy caramel notes linger for a pleasantly long time with fine brittle, subtly dry oak spice and a hint of fine herbs.
Overall, I would concur – our experience and the official tasting notes are quite well aligned, we just didn’t catch the herbal notes, however, we also didn’t give the whisky much time in the glass!.
We then moved on to the Peated expression, Rich & Smoky, tasted only in Canada. And what did we discover?
- Nose – A summer campfire, with properly dried wood so it is a sweet smoke, we also found Montreal smoked meats (beef brisket or pastrami – take your pick!), a slightly saline sea breeze, a hint of brazil nut, muskat grapes… the more time it spent in the glass the fruitier and sweeter it became, revealing some of the apricots and yellow plums found in the Classic
- Palate – Clean, mild peat with an initial “zap” that quickly mellows to become incredibly smooth. Long and balanced. A little fruit, some oak, and sweet spices married perfectly with a gentle peat.
- Finish – Lingers with a delicious cinnamon spice
Just like the Classic, this was exceedingly balanced, enveloping in a warm and cosey embrace. It is approachable and comforting at the same time. VERY well done!
What more do the folks at St Kilian have to say? Obviously, they use peat! In this case, barley malt from the Scottish Highlands with a phenol content of 54 ppm. And like the Classic expression, it is also a combination of different ex-bourbon casks (70%) and Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks (30%).
Their official tasting notes share:
- Appearance – Gold
- Aroma – The beguiling fruit bouquet of grilled apricots, juicy pears and ripe bananas is refined with sweet vanilla and a dash of lime, perfectly surrounded by mild peat smoke and complemented by dry ash tones with cooling mint.
- Taste – Full-bodied, sweet and fruity with vanilla, apricots and pears, in a harmonious interplay with creamy toffee and delicate peat smoke, which elegantly underlines the warming oak spice with a pinch of white pepper and fresh mint.
- Finish – Pleasantly warming with creamy fruit compote and dark toffee, which are accompanied by ashy smoke and a subtle dry oak spice for a long time.
These notes are from a combination of a tasting experience in Neumarkt, Germany, and Winnipeg, Canada where we continued with the fascinating experience of deconstructing the Signature Edition ‘Thirteen‘ (2016/18/19 – 2022) 53.9%.
Both tasting sets came courtesy of the folks at St Kilian.
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