Kilkerran Glengyle Distillery Single Malt Whisky logo.

Mitchell's Glengyle Distillery

  • Scotland
  • Award Recognition: The Kilkerran 12 Year Old received a score of 90/100 from The Whiskey Wash
Phone Number
  • +441586552009
  • Well Cl, Campbeltown PA28 6ET, United Kingdom

Glengyle Distillery exterior with signage and entrance.

History of Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

The Founding of Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, a prominent name in the whisky industry, was founded in Campbeltown in 1872 by William Mitchell. William, a part of the Mitchell family known for distilling and farming, had previously co-owned the Springbank distillery with his brother. His decision to establish Glengyle was influenced by the whisky boom of that era and his family’s deep roots in distilling and agriculture.

The Mitchell Family’s Legacy

The Mitchells were both distillers and farmers, a combination that proved economically beneficial. The cultivation of barley and production of farmers’ feed, a by-product of mashing, allowed them to sustain their distillery operations effectively.

Challenges and Dormancy in the 20th Century

Financial Struggles and Closure

Glengyle Distillery faced significant hurdles in the early 20th century, mirroring the broader challenges in Campbeltown’s distilling industry. Acquired by West Highland Malt Distilleries Ltd in 1919, financial difficulties soon led to its closure in 1925.

Repurposing of the Glengyle Site

Following its closure, the Glengyle site was repurposed for various uses, serving as a depot, a garage, and even hosting a miniature rifle club, a stark contrast to its distilling past.

Revival in the 21st Century

Restoration Led by Hedley Wright

The distillery witnessed a revival when Mitchell’s Glengyle Limited, under Mr Hedley Wright – a descendant of William Mitchell – purchased the buildings in November 2000. This marked the beginning of a restoration project to revive the distillery, reflecting a continuation of the Mitchell family’s legacy in whisky production.

Restoration Challenges and Efforts

The extensive restoration respected the building’s grade B listed status. Efforts included structural repairs, new installations, and sourcing of equipment, such as stills from Ben Wyvis Distillery and a mill from Craigellachie Distillery.

The New Era of Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

Reopening and the Birth of Kilkerran

Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery reopened in 2004, a significant event in Campbeltown’s whisky history. Its product, Kilkerran Single Malt, pays homage to Campbeltown’s early Christian settlement and stands out for its unique peaty and smoky character.

Evolution of Kilkerran Single Malt

The first Kilkerran whisky, a three-year-old malt, was released in 2007. The distillery introduced various “Work in Progress” batches, culminating in the launch of their standard 12-year-old product in 2016.

Awards Won by Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, known for producing the Kilkerran Single Malt, has a notable history and has garnered recognition for its whiskies. Here’s a summarised list of notable aspects and achievements:

Rebirth and Renovation: Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery was revitalised in 2004 by J&A Mitchell, after remaining silent for 75 years. This involved extensive renovation of the Victorian-era buildings and the introduction of second-hand stills from Ben Wyvis Distillery and milling equipment from Craigellachie Distillery.

Kilkerran Single Malt: The distillery’s signature whisky, Kilkerran, first released as a 5-year-old ‘work in progress’ single malt in 2009. This was followed by the first permanent expression, a 12-year-old, launched in 2016.

Award Recognition: The Kilkerran 12 Year Old received a score of 90/100 from The Whiskey Wash, indicating high quality and complexity. This whisky combines nuance and complexity with a light, fragrant style, and features notes of dry honey, butterscotch, and a hint of brine.

Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, located in the picturesque town of Campbeltown, is a destination for whisky aficionados and history enthusiasts. Accessible by various modes of transport, including bus services from Glasgow Buchannan Bus station, it’s easy to plan a visit.

Tour Options

Range of Tours: The distillery offers several tour options, including the Kilkerran tour, the Springbank tour, and a unique Warehouse tasting experience. These tours are designed to cater to various interests and budgets, with prices ranging from £10 to £35.

Booking: It’s advisable to book your tour in advance to ensure availability, especially during peak seasons.

The Tour Experience

Malting Area: Discover the traditional malting process, where barley is steeped in water and turned to malt.

Kilning Process: Learn about kilning, vital for drying the malt and adding unique flavours.

Milling and Mashing: See the historic milling equipment in action and understand the mashing process where sugars are extracted from the grist.

Fermentation Vats: The fermentation process in boatskin larch vats is a nod to the distillery’s adherence to traditional methods.

Distillation: Witness the heart of whisky making in the distillation process, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship in producing different whisky types.

Ageing Process: The tour elucidates on the ageing process in sherry and bourbon casks, which greatly influences the whisky’s flavour.

Added Perks

Interactive Learning: The tours are known for being interactive and educational, providing insights into the intricate whisky-making process.

Souvenirs: Visitors often receive souvenirs like a miniature whisky bottle or a dram glass.

Expert Guides: Knowledgeable guides add depth to the experience, offering anecdotes and answering queries.

The Distillery Shop

Merchandise: Post-tour, the distillery shop offers a range of branded merchandise and an array of whiskies for purchase.

Exclusive Bottlings: Look out for exclusive distillery bottlings that are often available only at the shop.

Flask & Barrel Review of Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

As a seasoned whiskey collector who has toured numerous distilleries, my visit to Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery in Campbeltown was a memorable experience, earning a solid 4.7 out of 5 in my book.

Firstly, the distillery’s setting is steeped in history. Having been silent for 75 years before its revival in 2004, the sense of heritage is palpable. The restoration work has been done sympathetically, keeping the Victorian charm intact, which really adds to the overall ambiance.

The highlight, of course, is their Kilkerran Single Malt. Tasting the 12-Year-Old was a delight. It’s a whisky with a complex character – notes of oak, toasted marshmallow, and cherry that I found exceptionally well-balanced. The 8-Year-Old, with its peat and green apple aroma, was another standout. It’s apparent that their limited production schedule, operating just three months a year, results in a focus on quality over quantity.

Their innovative approach to whisky-making, like experimenting with sherry, rum, and port cask finishes, and playing around with peating levels, really shines through in their products. As someone who appreciates the craft behind whisky making, these details make a huge difference.

The staff were knowledgeable and passionate, which made the tour both informative and enjoyable. It’s clear they take great pride in their work and the history of the distillery.

If I had to nitpick, the only reason I’m holding back from a full 5 is the limited range of whiskies available for tasting. As a collector, I’m always eager to try a wide variety, but I understand their production scale and focus on select quality products.

In conclusion, Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery offers a fantastic experience that balances historical charm with modern whisky-making craftsmanship. It’s a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast, particularly those interested in the unique character of Campbeltown malts.

What To Do Nearby Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

Machrihanish Golf Club: Approximately 8 km (5 mi) from the distillery, this golf club is a great choice for those who enjoy a round of golf in scenic surroundings.

Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club: A bit further from the distillery, it’s a perfect spot for golf enthusiasts looking for a challenge amidst beautiful landscapes.

Davaar Island Cave Painting of the Crucifixion: For a touch of culture and history, visit this unique site featuring a remarkable cave painting.

Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse: If you’re up for a drive, this lighthouse, located at the tip of the Kintyre Peninsula, offers stunning views and a sense of tranquility.

Achamore Gardens: Nature lovers should consider visiting these beautiful gardens a short drive away.

Campbeltown Heritage Centre: Learn more about the local history and culture at this informative centre.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery?

Harbourview Grille: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +441586810000, and the address is Royal Hotel, Main St, Campbeltown PA28 6AG, United Kingdom.

Number Forty Two: This restaurant is rated 4.6 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +441586554642, and the address is 1 Kinloch Rd, Campbeltown PA28 6EG, United Kingdom.

The Black Sheep Pub: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is +441586810032 and the address is 24 Bolgam St, Campbeltown PA28 6HZ, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery?

The Royal Hotel: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Their contact number is +448001513701, and the address is Main St, Campbeltown PA28 6AG, United Kingdom.

Craigard House Hotel & Lochside Restaurant: This hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. Their contact is +441586554242 and the address is Low Askomil, Campbeltown PA28 6EP, United Kingdom.

Grammar Lodge Guesthouse: It boasts a 5.0-star rating on Google Maps. The Contact number is +441586553355 and the address is St John St, Campbeltown PA28 6AU, United Kingdom.