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Glengyle distillery, originally founded in 1872, had been closed for more than half a century when it was acquired in 2000 by Hedley Wright, owner of Springbank distillery. Production at the new Glengyle distillery began in 2004 and the first limited release, a three-year old, appeared in 2007. The whisky from Glengyle distillery is not called Glengyle but Kilkerran, as the Glengyle name is owned by Loch Lomond Distillers who use it for their vatted malt. The name Kilkerran comes from the Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain ("head of the lake of Saint Kieran's cell"), the name of a settlement where Saint Kieran is believed to have had a religious cell and where modern Campbeltown stands today. This 12-year old was released in 2016 and is the first core range product of Glengyle distillery. It is lightly peated (12-15 ppm) and composed of a mixture of cask types: 70% matured in bourbon casks and 30% in sherry casks.
The nose is quite malty to begin with, then lemon flavours kick in, followed by notes of cereal and salt. There also are hints of vanilla and grass. Overall, this is a rather austere and dry nose.
The palate is medium-bodied and dry. The lemon flavours are back, now together with notes of white pepper and a touch of brine. Then there is light smoke (that I did not detect on the palate), followed by grassy flavours.
The finish is of medium length, very malty and peppery. Flavours of lemon and brine make a reappearance, the end is oaky and dry.
This is an austere single malt that appears challenging to access in the beginning but starts to show its qualities after a few sessions when it becomes highly drinkable. I am very impressed with the exquisite balance between sweet and dry flavours and with the overall complexity. This is one of the better whiskies it has been my pleasure to sample so far this year, and it is top quality at a very fair price.