Glengyle (Kilkerran) Distillery Tour

After the wild and fun times I had at the Cadenhead’s warehouse (and the shop before and afterwards taking some time to admire the selection as well as some beauties found in the famed Cadenhead’s “Cage”) I now headed for the second distillery tour of the day and one that I was very interested to learn more about, which is the Glengyle Distillery Tour!

The Glengyle tour starts at the Springbank Distillery shop, same as the Springbank Distillery Tour and the Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting. Our tour guide Mary leads us to the distillery, which is actually in the Springbank compound but just past the warehouses. Glengyle lies perpendicular to the Campbeltown Co-Op Grocery Store, which was once the site of the old Riechlachan Distillery that Glengyle’s founder William Mitchell started with his brothers.

We start in a presentation room with a few barrels around where we’re given a complimentary dram of Kilkerran 12 Year Old and are shown a small video to give some background to the renovations made to Glengyle led by former master distiller Frank McHardy.

We are then taken to see the malt bins and the malt mill, a Robert Boby make that originally came from Craigellachie Distillery as they were increasing production and thus Glengyle got a very good deal on their new malt mill as almost all of the old equipment from the 1920s had been sold off or melted down.

We then are taken to look at the mash tun, which is currently making some of the first batches of 2019 vintage Kilkerran whisky, as well as the washbacks which are also made from wood and sourced from Sweden the same as Springbank’s.

We also get a look at the two stills running at Glengyle which were originally used at the long gone Ben Wyvis Distillery (who were run by Invergordon Distillers from 1965 until 1977).

And finally we are taken to the spirit receiver warehouse where barrels for Kilkerran single malt are filled with new make spirit before being taken to the bonded warehouse for maturation. Currently, the barrels laid out next to the spirit receiver were labelled HP so the current production at this time was for more heavily peated Kilkerran spirit. So if you liked the Heavily Peated test batches released this year know that Kilkerran is definitely planning out a future for this new style!

And after a quick trip back to the warehouses and the bottling hall the tour ends with a glass and a miniture of Kilkerran to take home. So let’s see how this year’s distillery visitors bottling turned out!

Kilkerran Distillery Visitors Private Bottling 2019

Like the Springbank Distillery Visitors Private Bottling, this one is also bottled at 46% ABV but with no definite proof information available or age information. It is given to all distillery visitors as a 50ml miniature bottle.

Color: Clairvoyant

Nose: Lemon and grassiness are the main notes here, very new makey ones at that, then some vanilla oil, light caramels, mandarin oranges, dry lemons and cherries

Taste: Nice and sweet with a slightly oily mouthfeel, cocoa dust, lemon zest, allspice, cherries and oranges

Finish: Medium with cherry candy, light caramels, light salty peat and watery apples

A bit weak for what it is and definitely 3 years old if not younger. Probably my least favourite Kilkerran to date. I hope J. & A. Mitchell can put out some more interesting stuff for distillery visitors because these aren’t really showing the strengths of the distilleries well.

65/100

To see what Glengyle has been doing as of late was very cool, and the more industrial and vertical set-up was very interesting to see. While the private bottling wasn’t my favourite I still think for the education of seeing a newer distillery in action that’s now coming along and putting out more mature whiskies is very worthwhile for those who are fans of Kilkerran’s range. While it’s not super different compared to the tour at Springbank I still think it’s worth a look if you’re in the region sometime soon and really want to know what crazy stuff Glengyle are up to next!

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