January – December
Springbank is one of the last remaining distillery in Campbeltown. This distillery distil Single malt whiskies. Springbank distillery brands produced the following brands: Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow.
Springbank Single Malt is a Scottisch Single malt, which is distilled two and a half times. This process is quite unique: during the distillation part is tapped, and added again for the next distillation. This means that one part is distilled twice and one part three times. The spirit is then aged in bourbon and sherry casks, although Springbank is also experimenting different casks.
Springbank is the only remaining Scottish distillery to perform all steps in the whisky making process on site. In addition, it is one of the few remaining private breweries. For this reason, the whiskies from these breweries are not widely used in blended whiskies, as the large conglomerates prefer to use single malts from their own organization.
Continuity is the watchword at Springbank. This distillery has been in the ownership of the Mitchell family and its ancestors since 1837. Indeed, as its founder William Reid was related to the Mitchells by marriage you could argue that they were there from the word go.
It was in 1828 that Reid took out a licence, but there was a rich – and extensive – heritage of illicit distillation in the Kintyre Peninsula. Indeed, thanks to the Still Books of Campbeltown plumber and coppersmith, Robert Armour, we can accurately chart how many there were. The books show that Armour made 400 sma’ stills from 1811-1817, bringing him an income of £350 per year, and the surnames Reid and Mitchell appear in his detailed accounts.
Like many smugglers, Reid didn’t survive long once he joined the legitimate trade and in 1837 he sold to his in-laws John and William Mitchell. The latter brother left in 1872 to join his other two brothers at Riechlachan, at which point John’s son Alexander joined Springbank [hence the J&A Mitchell still on the label].
The 19th and early 20th centuries were a boom time for Campbeltown. Thanks to a fast sea crossing to Glasgow and a small coal seam at nearby Machrihanish it became Scotland’s whisky capital. At some point or other there were 35 distilleries operational. The style tended to be medium- to heavy-bodied, with some smokiness and an oily texture (though each distillery would work its own variation on this theme).
The distilling trade, however, collapsed in the 1920s. All of Scotland was affected with 50 distilleries closing, but Campbeltown was disproportionately affected, with only Springbank, Glen Scotia and Hazelburn surviving the Great Purge. By the 1960s only it and Glen Scotia were left.
That is not to say it was not immune to the vagaries of the whisky trade. Despite beginning to build a reputation as a single malt, Springbank was mothballed between 1979 to 1987. On reopening, owner Hedley Wright [John Mitchell’s great-great grandson] made the momentous decision to no longer sell to blenders, but develop single malt sales. Maltings were re-opened in 1992 and while the combination of managing limited stocks – the result of the mothballed period and somewhat over-eager sales of what was left – it has taken a number of years to get the Springbank range fully balanced, which now it is. It remains, deservedly, one of Scotland’s cult malt whiskies and a template for many new distillers.
Medium in smokey, nutty, honey, spicy, medicinal
Low in floral, winey, malty
Hazelburn Single Malt is the youngest variety, which was first distilled only in 1997. The Hazelburn was bottled and marketed as 10 years old in 2007. There was a small edition of 8 years old, but it is very rare. Meanwhile, a 12-year-old version has also been released. Hazelburn is distilled three times and it is not dried with peat.
Longrow Single Malt is a heavy peaty whisky, with a high phenolic content. The Longrow 10 years old was matured in sherry or bourbon casks. In addition, there was an experimental version that is aged in tokay barrels. A NAS (Non Age Statement) and an 18-year-old version are currently available. Springbank also markets an 11-year-old bottling matured in port casks.
At this point Springbank core range is:
You can purchase membership for yourself, or are welcome to join on behalf of the whisky fan in your life, making the Springbank Society membership the perfect treat for you, or gift for someone else.
Society members receive all the latest news and exclusive society bottlings from their private sections on the Experience.Springbank.scot website.
A lifetime membership costs only £50.
During the summer months, Springbank whisky school students will work under the expert supervision of Springbank production team for a period of 5 days at Springbank Distillery.
Springbank is the only Scottish distillery to undertake 100% of whisky production on one site, you’ll participate in each and every step of the process, being hands on in everything from floor malting and distilling, to filling casks and bottling the finished product. There truly is no better experience for whisky lovers who are keen to learn the process of making Scotland’s famous liquid.
On the Springbank Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to journey through our historic distillery, which has been on the same site since 1828.
As the only distillery in Scotland to complete 100% of the process on site, you’ll have the chance to see each and every step of the whisky making process before enjoying a dram of one of our core range whiskies and taking away a glass and miniature to enjoy at home.
During this tour you’ll get the chance to visit Glengyle Distillery, the home of Kilkerran Single Malt.
You will explore the history of the distillery before being guided through each stage of the whisky making process to discover what gives our Kilkerran whisky its unique character.
The tour will end with a dram of one of our core range whiskies and you’ll also receive a complimentary glass and miniature to take away with you.
During our Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a selection of the finest Cadenhead whiskies hand drawn from the cask in one of Springbank’s traditional warehouses. You can also take home a Cadenhead glass with our compliments.
Please note the Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting does not include a distillery tour. If you would also like a tour then please select a tour from the options. This tasting must be booked in advance.
For those who prefer to simply relax and taste our whisky, the Taste It is for you.
We have two different taste it options available to visitors to Campbeltown:
This tasting can be enjoyed by both newcomers to the world of whisky and more experienced whisky enthusiasts looking to revisit the Campbeltown classics. Included will be five core range products from Springbank and Kilkerran with one Cadenhead’s bottling to give participants an insight into everything we have to offer.
COST:£15 per person
If you’re blessed enough to have tried all the core range distillery products, test your taste buds with six single cask and small batch Cadenhead’s drams. This tasting will take you on a journey across all of Scotland’s whisky producing regions, while trying many of the different styles of whisky bottled by Scotland’s oldest independent bottler.
COST:£22 per person
Please note the Taste It does not include a distillery tour. If you would also like a tour then please select a tour from the options.
There’s also the option to add a delicious Scottish Platter Lunch for £15. Lunch must be booked at least 48 hours in advance and payment is required upon booking.
Also available from Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop throughout each day are Whisky Flights consisting of 3 specially selected drams and starting from £5 per person – perfect for those with less time or just passing by.
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