In 2004, spirit began to run off the stills again at Glengyle Distillery. Just a stone throws away from the Springbank Distillery, the Mitchell Family purchased this to save their Campbeltown designation with the Scotch Whisky Association. Campbeltown was about to lose its regionality in the “Whisky Regions of Scotland”. At the time you had Glen Scotia and Springbank on the peninsula. Lowlands was the next region with the least number of distilleries, holding strong at 3 total. Hedley Wright’s next move makes sense. Buy a defunct distillery, get it up and running and fight for regionality! The strategy worked since we still see Campbeltown as a producing region on our whisky maps.
“Glengyle Whisky” is not produced here. The whisky they produce here is released under the name Kilkerran. Killerran comes from a Gaelic term speaking to Saint Kieran who is believed to have had a religious cell where modern Campbeltown stands today. The distillery was basically an empty shell when they purchased it and no equipment was left. They sourced equipment from multiple distilleries. The mill is Craigellachie’s old Bobby Mill and the stills are from Ben Wyvis. These stills were reshaped to get a heavier, true Campbeltown character to them. In Springbank’s eyes, a Campbeltown malt is a more robust and oily than a highland or Speyside. A small, but growing brand, the distillery is much more modern than Springbank and has an efficient layout. Everything is on one floor proving it does not take many people to run Glengyle.
Only 50,000 liters of alcohol are produced for the Kilkerran brand per year and all this beginning in the semi-lauter mash tun. They have 4 washbacks each at 30,000 liters of capacity. The wash still is 18,000 liters and the spirit still is 15,000 liters. Both are heated by steam coils and use shell and tube condensers.
Kilkerran 12-year-old is their flagship bottling with 75% ex-bourbon and 25% sherry cask aging ratio and unpeated. The workers from Springbank are brought over to the distillery these 2 months a year for production. It’s truly a delicious sister dram being produced by the Springbank family we know and love.