Campbeltown is our focus today as we conclude our deep dive into the regions of Scotch whisky, with a trip to Glen Scotia on the cards!

Anyone who knows their Scotch whisky will be aware that the category is divided into distinct, legally-defined regions. Speyside, Islay, The Highlands (which the Islands are technically a part of), The Lowlands, and Campbeltown

The Glen-Scotia-Distillery

Fancy seeing Glen Scotia Distillery in the flesh?

The Campbeltown charm

Of all these, the latter is the smallest malt whisky designation. It’s home to just three distilleries. The most famous of these is Springbank, which produces three uniquely different Scotch single malts: Longrow (peated and double distilled whisky), Hazelburn (unpeated and triple distilled), and its eponymous releases (medium-peated and two-and-a-half-times distilled). There’s also Glen Scotia and the relative newcomer on the scene, Glengyle which releases whisky under the Kilkerran brand.

But, it wasn’t always so. The small port town, which you might be familiar with if you enjoy golf, fishing, or the music of the band the Beatles could have been*, was once known as ‘the whisky capital of the world’. Campbeltown was home to over 30 distilleries during its height in the 19th century. Victorian writer Alfred Barnard visited 21 of them in 1885 while researching his classic Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. He dubbed the town ‘whisky city’, reporting on a thriving area home to prosperous farmers and distillers whose industries were the lifeblood of the town. The latter were able to create characterful, full-bodied, and smoky whisky that was in high demand for blends thanks to easy access to local barley, peat, coal, and considerable trade routes to the US and Ireland as well as a sea link to Glasgow. The town had everything going for it.

Boom to bust

Until it didn’t. Things went from Millhouse to Milpool in the way it always seems to in this industry’s boom-bust cycle. Distilleries began closing at a rapid rate, with 17 shutting their doors in the 1920s alone. By 1935, just Glen Scotia and Springbank were operational. From this point, it’s been a long, patient, and increasingly rewarding comeback for Campbeltown. Glengyle opened in 2004 as the area’s first ‘new’ distillery for over 125 years. 

Distinctive, authentic whisky with heritage is all the rage now and Campbeltown whisky is known for its distinctive smoky, oily, and pungent flavour profile. It’s no surprise new distilleries are on the way. If you haven’t been before, the Malts Festival in May is a must. As our the following drams…


Buy any of these and, even if you don’t win, you’ve still go delicious to enjoy

Whiskies to try:

Glen Scotia 12 Year Old Seasonal Release 2022. Oily and smoky and salty, everything you want from Glen Scotia and Campbeltown, but the Amontillado sherry casks used to finish the seasonal release for 2022 ramp up the citrusy and stone fruit elements

Longrow Peated. From the legendary Springbank comes a heavily peated single malt matured in a combo of bourbon and sherry casks that’s full of maritime character and smoke tempered by light fruity notes. Ideal for an Islay fan looking to switch it up. 

Kilkerran 12 Year Old is most people’s first introduction to Campbeltown’s Glengyle Distillery and it sets the tone perfectly. This is a lightly peated whisky matured in a classic combination of bourbon casks sherry casks that has subtle complexity and plenty of rich, citrusy and oily, salty goodness to enjoy. 

Buy any of the following and you can also win a trip to Glen Scotia: Glen Scotia Double Cask, Glen Scotia Victoriana Cask Strength, and Glen Scotia Double Rum Finish. DON’T miss out on that!

*It’s a Mull of Kintyre and Alan Partridge reference. And I will not apologise.