Whisky lovers flock to Kintyre to celebrate the country's smallest Scotch-producing region

Hundreds of whisky lovers from around the world have gathered in the Kintyre peninsula for the first time in three years to celebrate Scotland's smallest whisky region.

By George Mair
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 5:39 pm

The annual Campbeltown Malts Festival kicked off today and runs until Friday in the town known in Victorian times as the "whisky capital of the world".

The annual event celebrates Campbeltown's heritage and its whiskies including its three remaining distilleries, Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle, as well as Scotland's oldest independent bottler, Cadenhead's.

The four-day event features open days, distillery tours, demonstrations and masterclasses, tastings and highly sought after exclusive bottlings.

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The Campbeltown Malts Festival is the biggest event in the town's calendar Pic: VisitScotland

Local hotels and whisky bars also put on tastings during their busiest week of the year.

Launched in 2008, the festival has been forced online for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year is hosting visitors from as far as China and Europe.

Nick Bradley, Brand Manager for the winning Glen Scotia, which has produced single malt whisky in Campbeltown since 1832, said: "This is Campbeltown's favourite moment of the year, when we welcome people from around the world on a different scale.

"It's amazing the distances people are coming. The whole town is in good spirits and we celebrate Campbeltown and its whisky heritage.”

Plans for a new Dál Riata distillery in Campbeltown were announced in February, along with this CGI picture of how it will look

Campbeltown is one of five malt whisky producing regions in Scotland. There were once over 30 distilleries but only three active distilleries survive. However, at least two new distilleries are set to open in the region in the coming years.

Bradley added: "Campbeltown is known as the Victorian Whisky Capital of the World, but it feels like there's a resurgence. There are exciting times ahead with new distilleries in the mix and it can only do wonders for the town."

Among the highlights of this year's festival will be Glen Scotia's first global whisky tasting, dubbed "The Global Gathering", which will see virtual tastings taking place live online around the world.

Elsewhere, whisky lovers will have an opportunity to be among the first in the world to try the "monumental" new Springbank 30-year-old expression.

Marion MacKinnon, co-owner of the Ardshiel Hotel in Campbeltown - famed for its vast collection of single malts - said: "People come year after year and it's nice after the absence of the last two years to see them again.