Campbeltown, at the end of the Kintyre peninsula, was once the centre of whisky production in Scotland, boasting more than 30 distilleries. But by the end of the 2nd World War this number had dwindled to just two – Springbank and Glen Scotia.
Bought by Springbank in 2000, the Glengyle distillery started making whisky again in 2004 and has periodically released limited edition “Work in Progress” bottlings.
This, the latest and final WiP, was released in 2015.
The name “Glengyle” is trademarked to Loch Lomond (who own the nearby Glen Scotia distillery) so to avoid confusion the single malt produced at Glengyle is being released under the name Kilkerran, which is derived from the Gaelic ‘Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain’ – the name of the original settlement where Saint Kerran had his religious cell and where Campbeltown now stands.
It’s timely to be looking at Campbeltown, on our 2nd tour of Scotland, as the Kilkerran 12 year old was also released this month – the first whisky produced by Glengyle to form part of their standard core range.
70cl / 46%
Nose: Toasted pink marshmallows spinning around fresh rhubarb and green apples. Toffee and treacle adds to the sweetness but an earthy note keeps this whisky well balanced and not overpoweringly sweet. The struck match and cabbage smell of previous sherry cask WiPs is replaced with rocks, pebbles and sand. It has kept the trademark sooty tones, but the rest is incomparably cleaner, more satisfying, and simply lovely. Orange cake, old musty cellar and bubblegum.
Palate: Heather honey and digestive biscuits. Creamy milk chocolate, black cherries mix with oak and wood spice. Gingery bitter oranges, more mineral flavours, leathery tea, the touches of sweet pipe tobacco and raisins. A truly complex and interesting dram.
Finish: Dry nutty finish with some gentle peat lingering along with some further oak notes. Sweet and creamy, tart, zesty, with a peppery aftertaste. Delicious.
Cork. Presentation tube. The picture on the label is of Longrow Church, as viewed from a window in the distillery wall.
Good. It was interesting tasting this alongside the Kilkerran 12 year old, which is made up of 70% bourbon aged and only 30% sherry aged whisky. It divided opinion at the meeting with some people preferring the 12 year old, and some the sherry wood. But we all agreed that it tasted like a finished article and not a work in progress at all.