Glengyle is Campbeltown’s newest, oldest distillery, originally founded by William Mitchell in 1872.
The distillery was sold in 1919 and closed from 1925 onwards until Hedley Wright [not Henley Wright, who’s name came up in yesterdays blog, thankyou tOMoH], great-great grand nephew of William Mitchell and current chairman of J&A Mitchell, bought the old buildings right next to Springbank.
The distillery officially reopened in 2004. Further reading: kilkerran.scot.
So why the name Kilkerran?
The Loch Lomond Group officially owns the Glengyle name [along with a stack of others]. Furthermore, Glen Scotia [currently owned by LL SW], had previously sold a French-branded blend called Glengyle. The LL group had offered the Glengyle name to the re-opened distillery. but they decided instead to start a fresh and go with Kilkerran [from Gaelic – Cill Chiarain], the original name of Campbeltown.
According to our host David Allen, Kilkerran’s distillery character is a sweet, sweaty & [apple] fruity, yeasty barley spirit with a decidedly different peat profile to Longrow with a farmy identity. It shares the same 8-10 ppm levels as Springbank – same maltings in fact. [This tasting happened in May 2018].
Comprised of 75% bourbon & 25% sherry cask maturation.
- N: This possesses a wonderfully fresh/crips yet relaxed [apple cider, pineapple cubes, melon, all sorts really] fruitiness. A super well rounded nose with a hint of peat.
- T: To taste, very much the distillery character David Allen described with the perfect ppm level. A little water brings out the best in body, mouthfeel and form.
- F: Finishes to form. Impeccable.
- C: What a start it’s been for Kilkerran.
Scores 89 points
I guess we tried this second, due to the abv differentials.
I tried another CS batch bottled earlier in 2017 [Score: 86]. This is now almost 9 years old and 80% bourbon-matured.
- N: Hugely likeable. The distillery profile is rather similar to the 12yo, though this is evidently younger and sweeter with leathery icecream, icing cream & sugar candy notes. With the malty farmy>dunnage tones, there appears to be a little more peat than the 12yo.
- T: I love this farmy-smokey profile with an almost mineral/metallic austere edge.
- F: Follows on through nicely from the palate.
- C: An excellent 8yo though the extra 3/4 year wait is worth it.
Scores 86 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran 2006/2018 Un-Ob. triple distilled #2 bourbon barrel 62.1%
- N: Much like the previous 8yo with light ripe summer fruits that hint at a possible & desirable malt-lactose pong/decay development. Furthermore, there’s a lovely slightly sweaty yeastiness alongside floral perfume/Cologne wafts – clynelish-y >> Mortlach-.y.
- T&F: Sweet sticky-ish fruits [apples>melons] with that farmy character and rum-like banana yeasts.
- C: I like! Though distillery character is maintained, triple distillation won’t be a regular fixture for Kilkerran in the future.
Scores 87 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran 8yo  Ob. Open Day 2018 [1020 bts] 58.4% WB87.43
- N: With help from a recharged sherry butt, we have a pungent fruity peaty number that will be popular amongst the ‘Vikings’ I’m sure. More specifically, I got fermenting cider, sweet cheesy cream, hessian dunnage pastries and a little unbaked Fimo. It’s nicely leathery and malty too with rounded vegetal peat, less farmy than the previous numbers.
- T: With a decent delivery, it’s decidedly peaty and char-y and really needs water, lots of it. Not sure there’s much going on travel-wise thereafter, but the initial hit is overwhelming.
- F: Short, witch hazel-clean finish.
- C: A classic showy festival number, one that arrives with a cask-finished fanfare and fizzles out shortly after.
Scores 84 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran 2004 13yo Un-Ob. Madeira cask 14/378-22 53.8%
Another experiment using spirit distilled in Glengyle’s re-opening year. This has seen in 10 years in Madeira, the remaining three in bourbon.
- N: A funky fruity peaty one that reminds me of Laphroaig’s PX [blog]. We’ve reoccurring distillery character notes of cider [and some putty dunnage-hessian], a little apricot and an almost grape/olive oil-dryness with a soft pungency.
- T: Controlled sweaty-sweet fruity peaty funk, though water is needed to bring out the subtle linseed/olive/mechanics oils, and fruit-infused oils – all subtly dunnage-y.
- F: We have cider and lots more fruits besides with peas at the death.
- C: A really fun one that works just fine.
Scores 85 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran 2015/2018 Un-Ob. Heavily peated spirit bourbon HHD 105 60.5%
Three months shy of being a whisky, at time of writing this was due to be released 3 months later as a heavily peated Kilkerran single malt. The initial ppm count was at 50ppm, but they expect 2/3s of the phenols to disappear during the entire process.
- N: I love this leathery, oily, vegetal number, a touch fruity yet more briny with olives & olive oil.
- T: Boom, vegetal>sweaty peat served! Unsurprisingly, very new make-y.
- F: Squidgy, oily distillate shines through.
- C: Kilkerran Octomore anyone? Lots of people thought it was too young and they’re right, but boy is it a promising 2.75 year old.
Scores 82 points