KILKERRAN also see Glengyle
Mitchell's Glengyle Ltd, are very proud to be continuing and adding to the great Campbel-
town Distilling tradition and the choice of name reflects that Kilkerran is derived from the
Gaelic 'Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain'which is the name of the original settlement where
Saint Kieran had his religious cell and Campbeltown now stands
Kilkerran is thought to be a suitable name for a new Campbeltown Malt since it was ususual
for the old Campbeltown distilleries to be called after a Glen, a custom more usually asso -
ciated with the Speyside regio
Glengyle is founded by
Distilleries Ltd new owner
Glengyle is closed1929
The warehouses are
bought by Craig Brothers rebuilt
in a garage and petrol station
Bloch Brothers, whisky
brokers and owners of Scapa
and Glen Scotia buys Glengyle
but never reopened the distillery,
and Sir Maurice Bloch sold his
business to Hiram Walker,
Gooderham and Worts in
Campbell Henderson has
the intention to reopen Glengyle
Hedley Wright, owner of
Springbank Distillery buys
First distillation takes
place in March
First Limited Release, a
3 year old Glengyle is released
Kilkerran, ' Work in progress "
Kilkerran, "Work in progress 2"
Kilkerran, "Work in progress 3"
also see Glengyle Distillery
The stills, spirit safe and spirit receiver
came from Ben Wyvis.
The body mill
was bought from Craigellachie.
The semi lauter wash tun is made by Forsyth
4 Wash backs are new and
made from boat skin larch and each
The capacity is 750.000
Springbank Distillers has announced a change of strategy for Kilkerran Single Malt Whisky.
Kilkerran opened on March 25th 2004.
The first release as a Work in Progress was is 2009 as a 5 years old.
A new company is formed to take Kilkerran as a Brand forward,
the name will be Mitchell's
From January 7th onwards the new company will assume responsibility for selling and mar-
keting of Kilkerran.
"Kilkerran will be 9 years old in 2013 and it is time for it to step out of the shadow of Springbank",
says Ranald Watson, the Sales Manager at Springbank, and he added:" 2016
has always been the target for Kilkerran for the full launch and as we approach that
milestone it is time that we begin to build momentum for Kilkerran, we have taken a low
key approach with Kilkerran since its frist release in 2009 and it now time tp develop this
Single Malt Whisky"
A subsidiary of J&A Mitchell, which operates Glengyle distillery and produces Kilkerran single malt.
When J&A Mitchell acquired the silent Glengyle distillery in 2000 it established a new subsidiary named Mitchell’s Glengyle to operate the site.
Kilkerran single malt – the name for Glengyle’s whisky – and Mitchell’s blend are both produced under its name.
By the year 2000 Campbeltown’s Glengyle distillery had lain silent for 75 years. Its glory days as a malt whisky distillery seemed a distant dream, and a new life as a rifle range and grain store had settled in.
J&A Mitchell changed all that. The owner of Springbank and independent bottler Wm Cadenhead acquired the distillery and established Mitchell’s Glengyle as a subsidiary to operate the site.
The group, led by Mr. Hedley Wright, spent the next four years refurbishing the plant, which finally reopened in 2004. The trademark for Glengyle had passed to Bloch Bros, the distillery’s previous owner, so the distillery’s whisky was bottled under the brand name Kilkerran – the original Gaelic name for Campbeltown.
Kilkerran was first released as a 5-year-old ‘work in progress’ single malt in 2009, while the brand’s first permanent expression – a 12-year-old – was issued in 2016.
J&A Mitchell & Company
Kilkerran single malt was born from the rebirth of Glengyle distillery in 2004. The Campbeltown distillery, which had closed in 1925, was reopened after the turn of the century by J&A Mitchell. However, the Glengyle brand name had been previously sold to Bloch Bros, leaving the distillery’s new owners to consider an alternative name for its single malt. Kilkerran – Cille Chiarain in Gaelic – is the original name of Campbeltown.
Lightly peated and non-chill-filtered, the 12-year-old is matured 70% in ex-Bourbon casks and 30% in ex-Sherry casks. The result is a far cry from the traditional heavy malt distilled at Glengyle during the Victorian era.
The annual ‘Work-in-Progress’ releases were matured either in ex-Bourbon or ex-Sherry and were released in quantities of between nine and 18,000 bottles.
Glengyle distillery was founded by William Mitchell in 1872, and it remained in family ownership until 1919. After it was closed by West Highland Malt Distilleries in 1925 the distillery and remaining stocks were acquired by Bloch Bros, which had also bought Glen Scotia.
The distillery was silent for three-quarters of a century, but was purchased by J&A Mitchell in 2000. Four years later Glengyle was reopened, and its first Kilkerran single malt released in 2009 as a 5-year-old ‘Work-in-Progress’ expression. Annual work in progress releases continued thereafter until 2015.
In 2016 a permanent 12-year-old expression was released.
The old Glengyle buildings were no more than shells when the site was bought in 2000. Today, the interior of the main building has been filled by a modern, single level distillery designed by J&A Mitchell’s former production director Frank McHardy.
Glengyle’s semi-lauter mash tun gives clear wort (from barley malted next door at Springbank) which is fermented in boatskin larch washbacks before distillation in a pair of stills which were originally made for the Ben Wyvis distillery [see Invergordon] which neatly enough was where McHardy began his 50-plus year whisky career.
He tweaked the shape of the stills, rounding the shoulders of the base and also giving the lyne arms an upward slant. The style is therefore light and fragrant. A number of styles have been made with variations in peat and triple distillation all tried.
The Mitchell family was the dominant force in Campbeltown’s distilling community in the 19th century. By 1872, John and his son Alexander were running Springbank; John’s brothers Hugh, William, and Archibald had founded Riechlachan, situated next door, while Archibald’s son, William, had just started his own distillery, Glengyle, which was next door again. He sold in 1919 to the short-lived, R&B-backed, consortium of Campbeltown distillers: West Highland Malt Distilleries [Ardlussa, Dalintober, Glen Nevis, Glen Scotia, Kinloch] but the venture failed and, in 1925, it was one of many Campbeltown plants to close down.
Perhaps surprisingly, there was still remaining stock in the 1940s when the distillery and the Glengyle brand name were bought by blenders Bloch Bros which had also bought Glen Scotia [see also Scapa]. There were plans mooted to reopen but they came to nothing and the plant became a rifle range, and feed store.
In 2000, however, J&A Mitchell [Springbank] bought the site and four years later Glengyle reopened. Because the Glengyle trademark had passed to Bloch Bros (and subsequent owners of Glen Scotia) the brand is called Kilkerran – the original name of Campbeltown. The first release was in 2007 and has been followed by annual ‘Works in Progress’. A 12-year-old is planned for 2016.
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam kettles and coils
MALT SPECIFICATION i
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various, of Scottish origin
MASH TUN MATERIAL i
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
Racking and dunnage
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK CHARGE (L) i
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK TYPE i
WATER SOURCE i
YEAST TYPE i
J&A Mitchell & Company
2000 - present
1957 - 1970
1940 - 1957
West Highland Malt Distilleries
1919 - 1924
1872 - 1919
New Releases from Springbank and Kilkerran
Written by Springbank on Friday, October 30th 2020 .
New Releases (30/10/20).
From Friday 20th October, the following whiskies will be for sale in the UK and some of Europe. Please be aware that a UK delivery issue means that some retailers wont have their stock until next week. Furthermore, due to shipment times, releases throughout the rest of the world will be at different dates.
Springbank 12Y/O CASK STRENGTH (56.1%)
The Campbeltown Cadenhead shop will be selling this for £52.00
Adding to our Springbank 12Y/O Cask Strength range this year we have the latest addition to engulf the senses. This batch strays away from the regular Sherry, Bourbon mix with a couple of surprises; 45% Sherry, 25% Bourbon, 25% Burgundy, 5% Port.
Nose: This whisky packs a lot of signature Springbank characteristics. The peat smoke is immediately present and very welcome with a lovely ashiness. Aromas of bruised apples, mahogany and tobacco leaves. There is a candied sweetness with notes of glazed red cherries, and sugar coated cola cubes.
Palate: It is rich and sweet to taste with ripe and juicy red fruit flavours. Strawberries and raspberries give way to orange flavoured chocolate and gooey toasted marshmallows and bubbling caramelised sugar.
Finish: In the finish the earthy, dusty notes remain as well as the mouth drying tannins from the burgundy casks. The whisky is deliciously sweet and smoky with the familiar Springbank characteristics prevailing.
Hazelburn Sherrywood 13Y/O (50.3%)
The Campbeltown Cadenhead shop will be selling this for £55.00
This is our 4th annual release of the Hazelburn Sherrywood and, as normal, it is 100% oloroso sherry cask matured. If you are looking for a nice whisky to enjoy over the winter holidays then this is it.
Nose: Juicy red grapes, raspberries and redcurrants followed by stewed strawberries and mint humbugs.
Palate: Initially a rich sweetness of marzipan, prunes and raisins, developing into orange rind, dark chocolate and vanilla cheesecake.
Finish: Red apple, digestive biscuits, wholemeal toast, black cherries and almonds.
Kilkerran 16Y/O (46%)
The Campbeltown Cadenhead shop will be selling this for £56.00
As many of you will know, in March we marked Glengyle Distillery’s 16th Anniversary. Excitingly, we are now launching our first ever Kilkerran 16 year old and it is a beauty. Our Kilkerran 16Y/O is predominantly matured in bourbon casks and continues to develop all the classic Kilkerran characteristics we know and love.
Nose: Initially delicate with herbal and citrus characteristics before opening up to reveal brighter and zestier notes with orange peel and tart lemon meringue pie. There is also a creamy, nutty aroma which develops over time and a hint of tropical pineapple. A fleeting briny component reminds you that this is definitely a Campbeltown Single Malt.
Palate: The palate reveals layers of complex flavours. Cereal and malt notes are present alongside soft dry peat smoke, herbs, black pepper and tones of sandalwood and beeswax. The bourbon maturation allows a fragrant aniseed note to carry through from the spirit, which also lends a waxy texture to the dram.
Finish: The dry and ashy peat smoke influence continues as does the deep-rooted coastal brine. Overall this is a bright and complex whisky that is not overly sweetened from the bourbon maturation. It is fragrant, grassy and gently peated.
Campbeltown, a whisky region in its own right
The history of Mitchell’s Glengyle distillery is a long and colourful one, but one which begins with a man named William Mitchell. William was the son of Archibald Mitchell, the founder of nearby Springbank Distillery. In the second half of the 1800s William ran Springbank Distillery in a partnership with his brother John, while the other brothers and sister were active running the old Rieclachan Distillery across the town. The family were not just distillers but also farmers, which was quite a common thing in those days. The growing of barley and production of farmers’ feed (a bi-product from mashing) meant that it made sense to run a distillery as well as being a farmer to keep the cost down. The farming element in the partnership with John didn’t run very smoothly – allegedly the two brothers had a quarrel about sheep – and this saw William leave the family business to start up his own venture, Glengyle Distillery on the corner of Glebe Street and Glengyle Road, just down the road from Springbank. Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery was founded by William Mitchell in 1872 and he ran the distillery as a sole proprietor.Like the majority of Campbeltown distilleries, Glengyle suffered greatly during the economic downturn at the beginning of the 20th century. It was bought by West Highland Malt Distilleries Ltd in 1919 then sold again in 1924 for the princely sum of £300, before production finally ceased altogether in 1925. The entire spirit stock from the Glengyle Distillery was auctioned off on the 8th of April that same year.
Despite not producing any more spirit, the Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery buildings remained in relatively constant use right up to modern days. In the 1920s the building was rented out to Campbeltown Miniature Rifle Club for a number of years and the buildings were later used a depot and sales office for an agricultural company and so it remained the best preserved of all the former Campbeltown distilleries.
Possibly because the buildings were so well preserved, a number of attempts have been made to re-open Glengyle Distillery in the past. The first was a mere 16 years after it had closed down when it was bought by the Bloch Brothers, then owners of Glen Scotia Distillery, who planned to rebuild and extend Glengyle. The war intervened however and nothing came of it. A further attempt was made in 1957 when Campbell Henderson applied for outline planning permission to undertake a £250,000 modernisation of Glengyle and re-open it but again nothing came of it. Third time lucky though as in November 2000, 75 years after Glengyle had last produced spirit, it was announced that the buildings had been bought by a new company, Mitchell’s Glengyle Limited, headed by Mr Hedley Wright, chairman of J&A Mitchell and Co Ltd, and great-great nephew of William Mitchell, original founder of Glengyle.
Why name the whisky Kilkerran?
Kilkerran is the name that was chosen for the single malt produced at Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, because the name Glengyle is already used for a blended Highland malt and Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd were not able to purchase the rights to use that name. They also wished to avoid any possible confusion between the newest single malt to come from the Campbeltown region and a pre-existing blended Highland malt.
Secondly, and more importantly, Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd are very proud to be continuing and adding to the great Campbeltown Distilling tradition and the choice of name reflects that. Kilkerran is derived from the Gaelic ‘Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain’ which is the name of the original settlement where Saint Kerran had his religious cell and where Campbeltown now stands. Kilkerran is thought to be a suitable name for a new Campbeltown malt since it was unusual for the old Campbeltown distilleries to be called after a Glen, a custom more usually associated with the Speyside region.