The original Glengyle distillery opened in 1873 - following an argument between the Mitchell brothers of Springbank distillery - and closed its doors in 1925. It was the first of the Campbeltown distilleries to close down, but the first of many - this erstwhile heartland of whisky production was home to just two remaining distilleries when, in 2004, Glengyle was resurrected, once again by the Mitchell family who still own Springbank. (If there was any doubt as to the Mitchell family’s political leanings, following their Spirit of Freedom blends, it might be of interest that the personage to officially open Glengyle was Winnie Ewing, who won the first parliamentary seat for the Scottish National Party in 1967…)
But sometimes re-opening an old distillery isn’t that simple. One of the hiccoughs encountered along the way to reestablishing Glengyle as a working distillery was the fact that the rights to the name are now owned by the Loch Lomond Distillery Company, who also own neighbouring Glen Scotia, due to a previous (failed) attempt to bring back Glengyle. Not to be perturbed, the new owners instead branded Glengyle’s single malt “Kilkerran”, after the original Gaelic name for Campbeltown (Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain).
The “Work in Progress” series has documented the new distillery’s rise from youthful new-make to adolescent whisky, showcasing a number of strengths and cask types along the way, and all is now set for the launch of a 12-year-old in 2016.