[Still very much on catchup:] It’s day 3 of the Campbeltown Malts Festival and Glengyle’s turn.
After the excitement of Springbank Open Day [WLP], Glengyle suitably offers a more low-key village fete-like vibe which is wholeheartedly welcomed. Further Springbank & Cadenhead events continue throughout the day.
Planning not to drink anything until my 2pm tasting [best-laid plans and all that], I rock up at Glengyle Distillery sometime in the morning to see the obligatory festival queue which is bijoux and full of familiar faces, one of whom is ‘Drywall’ Jim who is grabbing the 16yo Kilkerran festival bottling [WB]. It’s a rum cask finish that doesn’t particularly grab me – a bit dull [+/-84 score] – so I decline the chance to purchase a bottle for myself. He’s also pouring various other things, one of which I can’t resist:
Arran 10yo  ‘Arranach‘ Ob. Distillery Hand-fill Chateau Margaux Finish #17/MARG/013 58% [20cl] WB86.80
- N: Volumous, squidgy, inviting, and [TBWC Batch 2] Willowbank-esque, this is a fine example of red wine over whisky on a bourbon bed.
- T: Rich bourbon before wine, voluminous again, slightly jammy, and resinous. Add water for more nutty sugars.
- F: Creamy bourbon with a soft top dressing of grape juice.
- C: I keep saying it – bring on wine casks! Just gotta find your gateway in. In terms of getting wine casks to work well, I hear it’s simply a numbers game.
Scores 86 points
We are joined by Nobo and [Swagger] Kenny who, as well as looking very sharp, is pouring a light fresh Cadenhead’s Glen-something [rinnes/dullen/Spey?].
Meanwhile, across from me are two energetic young guys [whose names escape me], waxing lyrical about a Balblair they are enjoying. My ears prick up. Pouring from an unmarked sample bottle, from what they could remember about it, I glean it must be this one:
Balblair 2009/2019 10yo TWB 1st-fill oloroso cask #TWB1008 [284 bts] 59.4% WB84
I’m told this single cask Balblair was purchased for £39, which is even more exceptional given it was from the Whisky Barrel.
- N: Grassy malt – heart of the kernel stuff – with some floral fruitiness. The sherry cask is exceptionally low-key.
- T: A bourbon-not-bourbon affair. Love it!
- F: Vanilla-not-vanilla, dense/compacted oaky fruits & spice,.. slow release.
- C: Great session dram, this. I’ve very much missed Balblair since the Inverhouse shakeup.
Scores 85 points
The morning has been swallowed up by the early afternoon. I’m just about to enjoy an offering from Tom & Dawn before a rain shower erupts, creating a group frenzy to find shelter. In the interim, I find I’ve the whole upstairs of the distillery to myself.
After a short intermission, back in the courtyard, we resume where we left off.
Lowland Blended Malt Scotch  Cadenhead’s Christmas 2017 58.4% WB0
Realistically, what could be in this? Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Glenkinchie,.. > St. Magdalene, [Annandale]?
- N: Rather citrusy with a farmy touch, this is a little wacky/refreshingly different.
- T: Crisp/bold/acute sparkly/fizzy sour lemon delivery.
- F: Remains refreshingly crisp yet soft-sharp over unripe sour-sugary berries.
- C: One of my whisky highlights of the week. A long gone style, we are way beyond the details [age, spirit vs casks etc..].
Scores 87 points
Meanwhile, two of the Springbank shop bottlings I purchased yesterday have been cracked [and since consumed].
[Springbank] Hazelburn Hand Filled [25/05/22] Ob. 57% [20cl] WB0
- N: Delectable sour cream – pineapple-sweet – and with a hint of that all-important key quince jelly note.
- T: Sour citrus quince jelly arrival that moves straight into a sand-dry spicy peppery and savoury,…
- F: ,… chalky malt conclusion, and that’s all folks!
- C: Springbank distillers do it again and again whilst maintaining price integrity.
Scores 85 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran Hand Filled [25/05/22] Ob. 58.3% [20cl]
I’m guessing it’s this batch: WB85.20, which over the course of the year has dropped 0.1%?
- N: Potent, oily farmy vanilla > gala & > cantaloupe melon juice, coal [dust] and wood ash.
- T: A dry farmy, heavy char vanilla-ey delivery.
- F: Echoes of what’s just gone whilst becoming a bit gacky/milky [ferment-led?] but texturally sound.
- C: Whisky for mezcal [and Mini Milk] fans, perhaps?
Scores 82 points
And that’s lunch before the BIG tasting!