Campbeltown Whiskies now pouring at Westerham Brewery
Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran, Campbeltown is situated in the west coast of Scotland in Argyle & Bute, on the southeast coast of the Kintyre peninsula. With the ingredients for whisky on hand, Campbeltown was a hotbed of illicit spirit distilling; malting barley from the fertile Kintyre fields, peat from the bogs for the malting process, water from Crosshill Loch and coal from the nearby Drumlemble mine to fire the stills and a bustling port. Campbelltown had it all.
After the 1823 Excise Act, commercial distilleries sprung up; there were once 30 thriving distilleries. With a busy port and a reputation for fine whisky, Campbeltown earned the title ‘Whisky Capital of the World’; by 1891 it was reputed to be the richest town in Britain per capita. The first world war, the closure of the coal mine, prohibition and declining quality eventually drove most of the distilleries out of business between 1920 and 1930. Today there are just three distilleries producing five distinct whisky styles. Campbeltown whisky is renowned for its maritime influenced whiskies with brine, smoke, dried fruits, vanilla, toffee and industrial funk the distinctive character and style.
Why do we pour Campbeltown whiskies?
My 4th Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Campbell’s ancestors founded Campbeltown in 1667. Her daughter Isobel Campbell Ferguson married William Cairns in Campbeltown in 1816; he was a mate on the customs excise cutter Earl Moira. Their daughter, my 2nd Great Grandmother, Marion Cairns married Henry Wicks in 1843; he was a customs excise officer. This brought together the Cairns and the Wicks families in Campbeltown when it was at its zenith as a whisky producer. As the producer, with Anno Distillery, of Kent’s first single malt whisky we settled on the revived whisky region of Campbeltown as our whiskies of choice.
Robert James Cairns Wicks – Founder and Head Brewer
Fraser Charles Cairns Wicks – Production Manager
Campbeltown Loch – Blended Malt Whisky 46% ABV
All five malts from the region’s three distilleries have been used to produce this Blended Malt. Since 2009 blended malt whisky is distinct from blended scotch whisky as it is a blend of single malt whiskies with no grain spirit from other grains. Matured in a combination of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks, vatted and bottled at Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown.
Nose: A distinct buttery note, and characteristic hint of sea salt introduce this dram, along with notes of ginger loaf and pecan pie.
Palate: Creamy coffee, salted caramel, date syrup and crystallised brown sugar on the palate, with a subtle hint of peat smoke.
Finish: The peat smoke builds in the finish, with a leathery note developing over time.
Glen Scotia Double Cask – Single Malt Whisky 46% ABV
Matured in first fill Bourbon barrels and then finished for 12 months in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks. Rich and spicy fruit with the distinctive Campbeltown notes.
Nose: Vibrant fruit emerges first (peach flesh and green apple peels), followed by chewy vanilla fudge, a hint of salinity, then an array of oak-y spices including some char.
Palate: Opens with more fudge with a little dusting of powdered sugar. Powerful, oily and a touch herbaceous with some German brandy character.
Finish: Sherried notes come through more on the finish.
Longrow Peated – Single Malt Whisky 46% ABV
Matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks, Longrow Peated offers those who enjoy a heavily peated whisky the chance to enjoy a lingering, smoky taste that travels through the senses like the smoke billows from a kiln.
Nose: Very creamy, vanilla custard. The smoke develops gradually, rather than overpowering the other aromas present. Toasted marshmallows, herbs and rich fruits appear over time.
Palate: Incredibly well balanced; rich and creamy with a slight medicinal hint. The smoke is always present, washing over the palate in waves, like the soft billows of smoke from the Kiln.
Finish: The gentle smoke lingers and lingers leaving you yearning for more.
Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch #9 – Single Malt Whisky 59.2% ABV
The well-peated whiskies of Kilkerran, produced at the Glengyle distillery, are always very popular with peat lovers. The batch 9 doesn’t disappoint, bottled at 59.2% and 90% bourbon casks with 10% sherry, this is a well balanced dram with salty earth peat combined with characteristic sweetness. Try with a drop of Westerham greensand aquifer water to open up this punchy whisky
Nose: Opens up to reveal citrus notes, vanilla cheesecake, rhubarb and custard sweets with delicate peat smoke.
Palate: Freshly baked Bramley apple pie and sweet salted caramel. The peat is prolific yet well integrated. A fresh coastal influence evokes memories of a blustery, busy, sea sprayed harbour.
Finish: Long and creamy. Notes of toasted oak and pencil shavings give way to a lasting sweet, fruity peat smoke.