Glengyle Open Day: Tour and Kilkerran Warehouse Tasting

Let’s jump straight in with a GEEK ALERT!

Glengyle spirit safe.jpeg

  • Glengyle’s mill came from Craigellachie, but most of the equipment [stills, condensers, spirit safe etc.], came from the defunct Ben Wyvis complex, the lot bought for £300000.
  • Scandinavian larch washbacks see a [on average] 100 hour long fermentation. Our tour guide claims the wooden washbacks add character to the spirit. He’s not alone.
  • Glengyle’s most significant taste-changer, aside from the phenols and many other variations & experiments since Glengyle’s reopening in 2004, is the 7 degree inclined lyne arm. Springbank’s lyne arm by comparison sports a 7 degree decline.

Glengyle washbacks.jpeg

  • 74-58 cut points.
  • Last year Glengyle produced around 80000 litres in only 12 weeks of production. Kilkerran is to be kept a rarity – not intended to flood the market in quantity – so there is no intention to increase production at this time.



Kilkerran Warehouse Tasting Friday 24th May, 4pm

Grant McPherson.jpeg

Now a mock warehouse, we are standing where Glengyle’s original malt barn would have been. Our host is Grant McPherson who has worked for Springbank for 20 years.


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 2006/2019 13yo Un-Ob. First-fill bourbon cask sample 54%

This is one of Glengyle’s triple distilled experiments. It’s from this cask that Drambusters bottled a 12yo Kilkerran earlier in the year WB80.75[4]

Kilkerran 2006:2019 13yo Un-Ob. First-fill bourbon cask sample 54%.jpeg

  • N: Light, fresh and fruity, the bourbon cask fairly prominent.
  • T: There’s Kilkerran’s unique phenol character coupled with a huge bourbon resinousness.
  • F: Butyric bourbon fruitiness.
  • C: Somewhat basic but tasty. That cask however has become way too loud.

Scores 80 points


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 2004/2019 15yo Un.Ob Bourbon cask sample #380 54.6% [WB]85[7]

This is one of the first six casks Glengyle filled in 2004.

Kilkerran 2004:2019 15yo Un.Ob Bourbon cask sample #380 54.6%.jpeg

  • N: With more first-fill cask suspicions again, this one is more farmy than the 2006 vintage with a nice oiliness.
  • T: Prominent farmy phenols with something of a citric-flavoured floor cleaner note that I find troubling, and that cask is certainly firm.
  • F: Butyric fauna-green bitter-ish sour bourbon prominence again, but water certainly helps.
  • C: Those bleeding bourbon casks! Little joy here.

Scores 80 points


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 2004/2019 Un-Ob. Madeira cask sample #378 53% [WB]85.10[12]

Another one of the Glengyle’s first six casks filled. You’ll get a similar experience at Bruichladdich with their first Octomore experiments. This early vintage spent 10 years in Madeira with a further 6 in bourbon.

Kilkerran 2004:2019 Un-Ob. Madeira cask sample #378 53%.jpeg

  • N: Madeira is one of the distinct cask styles I’m getting used to picking out. A light farmy huskiness joins the frame.
  • T: A tasty soft-yet-thick sweetness ensues whilst the bourbon cask becomes boisterous.
  • F: Despite being a touch cask resinous & butyric, there’s also a nice huskiness at the finish.
  • C: It’s clear that these early casks have now become largely academic.

Scores 81 points


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 2004/2019 15yo Un-Ob. Cask sample #382 53.7%

Another one of Glengyle’s first six casks, this one spending 10 years in rum before another 5 years in bourbon.

Kilkerran 2004:2019 15yo Un-Ob. Cask sample #382 53.7%.jpeg

  • N: In the face of bourbon cask adversity, delicate fruits emerge.
  • T: The cask is on the offensive, once again.
  • F: Coppery metallic & butyric.
  • C: Displeasing.

Scores 78 points


Kilkerran 8yo [2019] Un-Ob. Bourbon - sherry cask sample 56%.jpeg

{Glengyle] Kilkerran 8yo [2019] Un-Ob. Bourbon – sherry cask sample 56%

  • C: Not overly exciting but certainly a better whisky than what’s gone before. This cask will be part of an official Kilkerran release in November.

Scores 84 points


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 3yo [2019] Un-Ob. [batch 2] cask sample abv unknown

The barley used here came to the Springbank at 74ppm – too much for them – so it was passed onto Glengyle. Apparently this cask will also be released at the end of 2019.

Kilkerran 3yo [2019] Un-Ob. [batch 2] cask sample.jpeg

  • N: Everyone immediately loves this distillate-led young bitter sour lemon scented whisky – hello!
  • T: Those lemon-scented bleaches have a lot to answer for!
  • F: Biting sour citric spirit, arguably a little mezcal-like.
  • C: Good ‘work in progress’ whisky, but this is still very young.

Scores 78 points


A very interesting tasting that. With thanks to Grant

In the cue for the Cooley, Calam gives me a wee snifter of the port cask-matured Kilkerran [also one of Glengyle’s first 6 casks ever filled], poured at the expensive Glengyle Distillery Dinner. That collection of the first 6 casks also included a fino cask we didn’t get to try. “This is the best of the bunch” says Calam. 


{Glengyle] Kilkerran 2004/2019 Un-Ob. Port cask sample abv unknown

  • C: This one is also cask-led, but the port cask in question is delicious. I like port!

I provisionally score it 84 points.



And that’s it for the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2019. We head home via a number of lowland distilleries HERE


Further reading:







Glengyle Stills.jpeg

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