Kinloch

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Kinloch Distillery, Campbeltown.

AFTER living at Campbeltown a week we began to feel quite at home, our daily perambulations in the “spiritual town” had brought us in contact with many of the distillers, who by their courtesy, kindness and hospitality, contributed to our comfort and pleasure, and rendered our prolonged stay most agreeable. On our way from the “White Hart” to Kinloch Park we passed the venerable cross of Campbeltown, the chief object of interest in the place. It is situated in the middle of Main Street and consists of a very handsome pillar of hard blue granite, richly ornamented with sculptured foliage. Tradition says that it is a relic from the wreck of the 360 crosses which the Synod of Argyll, in 1560, commanded should be cast into the sea, and that it was transported from Iona by stealth. It stands nearly eleven feet high, on an octagon pedestal of six steps, and bears a Latin inscription, above which there is a chalice and an open book. On the right of the cross stand the Town Buildings, the steeple of which is ninety feet high; over the portico entrance are the town arms and underneath the significant motto, “Ignavis precibus fortuna repugnat,” fortune spurns slothful prayers. Leaving the Town Hall we proceeded to our destination by way of the New Quay, where we witnessed large cargoes of barley being transferred from the steamers to the distillers’ carts. As we crossed the park the surface was so thickly covered with fishing nets, laid out to dry, that we had to pick our way by a larger round to reach the establishment.

The Kinloch Distillery was commenced in the year 1823 by Mr. Dunlop’s father, who assumed other partners, and started work under the co-partnery of Lamb, Colvill & Co., by whom the business has been carried on up to the present time; the firm now being the oldest established in the district. For a long time previous to that period the premises had been used as Malt Houses, for the purpose of supplying malt to the numerous smugglers who carried on their business in the country round about, and from whose products arose the far-famed Campbeltown Whisky now so well known in the market. It is a fine old work covering two acres of ground, with a frontage to Kinloch Park of over 400 feet and a depth to Longrow of 240 feet. It is quite close to the loch and harbour, and the continual movement on the water of fishing boats and steamers, together with the bustle and traffic on the wharf, gives this Distillery more life and animation than any of the others. The premises have been greatly enlarged during the past few years, and new utensils and modern machinery added. On entering the establishment the managing partner, Mr. James Dunlop, received us and courteously conducted us over the premises. We first visited the three Barley Stores, which contain metal Steeps, and the three Malting Floors, all of which are concreted, and afterwards ascended a stair to the floor of the Malt Kilns, three in number, two of which are floored with tiles and the other with wire cloth, all of them are heated with peat in enclosed furnaces. We next proceeded to inspect the Mill House and Stores, the latter is over the Mash Tun, and contains the usual feeding hopper for that vessel. Descending a flight of steps we came to the Mash House, a conveniently arranged building which contains a Mash Tun, 14 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep, with the patent revolving stirring gear therein, also two large heating coppers and the Underback. Crossing this apartment we entered the Tun Room, wherein are placed eight Washbacks, each holding 7,400 gallons, the switchers being driven by steam. On an elevation there is the Wash Charger, which holds 5,224 gallons, and a Low-wines and Feints Charger of 3,458 content. Retracing our steps to the courtyard we came to the Still House, a neat and very spacious building, where we were shown three Pot Stills, two heated by furnaces, the other by steam, holding respectively 2,900, 1,800, and 1,700 gallons. There are also three Receivers on an elevation, holding respectively 1,860, 1,781, and 1,425 gallons. We then visited the Spirit Store, which contains a Vat holding 2,292 gallons, passing on our way the Coolers and a Morton’s Refrigerator. Mr. Dunlop next directed our steps to the Warehouses, four in number, which occupy one side of the block, and are of the following dimensions: No. 1 is 100 feet long and 32 wide; No. 2 is 80 feet long and 100 feet wide; No. 3 is 70 feet long and 200 feet wide, and the whole contained at the time of our visit 2,461 casks, but they are capable of containing more than 3,000 casks. Near the Mash House there is a fine 12-horse power engine and a steam boiler, 20 feet long by 6 feet in diameter, and two large Worm-tubs. The water comes from the Crosshill Loch, and there is also excellent water obtainable from a deep well on the premises. Fourteen persons are employed in the Distillery, and the Chief Excise Officer is Mr. Thos. Pike. There are excellent offices for clerks, managers and excise, and we may here remark that important additions and improvements are being made to the works, the firm having recently acquired the adjoining land.

The make is Campbeltown Malt, and the annual output is 97,000 gallons sold principally in Ayrshire, Glasgow and London.

But let the Kirk-folk ring their bells,Let’s sing about our noble sel’s;We’ll cry nae jads frae heathen hillsTo help, or roose us,But browster wives and whisky stills,They are the muses.Your friendship, sir, I wanna quat itAnd if ye mak’ objections at it,Then han’ in nieve some day we’ll knot it,And witness take,And when wi’ usquebae we’ve wat it,It winna break.Burns’s Poems