Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Springbank Distillers Ltd
85 Longrow, Campbeltown, Argyll, PA28 6EX Scotland
Tel: +44 (0) 1586 552009 / Fax: +44 (0) 1586 553232
Viewer's Comments about Springbank
Distillery is unique. It is the oldest independent family owned
distillery in Scotland. Founded in 1828 on the site of Archibald
Mitchell's illicit still, the Springbank Distillery is now in
the hands of his great-great grandson, Hedley G. Wright. It
is the only distillery in Scotland to carry out the full production
process on the one site. 100% of the traditional floor malting,
maturation and bottling is done at the distillery in Campbeltown.
The Distillery produces the most hand made whisky in Scotland,
with traditional production methods being used throughout the
process, and human involvement at each and every stage. It is
the only distillery in Scotland to have never chill-filtered,
nor do we add any artificial colourings to any of our single
malts. It is also the only distillery in Scotland to produce
three different single malts, Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn,
using three different production methods.
Young Archibald was an original partner in Rieclachan, and was
soon joined by his brother Hugh. John bought out Toberanrigh Distillery
which had originally been built by his cousin Alexander. Archibald
Senior's only daughter, Mary, founded Drumore in 1834 and William,
after being in partnership first with John at Springbank then
with his other brothers at Rieclachan, went on to found Glengyle
in 1872 which he pursued as sole proprietor.
For most of the 17th and 18th century, Campbeltown was a prominent
smuggling centre. Following the Excise Act of 1823, taxes were
reduced to such an extent that legal distilling at last became
competitive against smuggling.
This really was the beginning of the golden years for Campbeltown
distillers, who hastily began applying for licences. Campbeltown
saw a total of 34 distilleries established during the boom of
the 19th century and subsequently became known as "Whisky
Capital of the World."
However, the levels of production were so high that it was inevitable
the bubble would burst. The early part of the 20th century saw
changes which had a detrimental effect on the Campbeltown whisky
Overconfident in their Glasgow monopoly, some Campbeltown distillers
became complacent, putting the emphasis on quantity, not quality,
which led to the production of inferior spirit. This, coupled
with post-war economic depression and prohibition in the United
States, took its toll and by 1930 only three distilleries survived.
Rieclachan closed in 1934, leaving only Springbank and Glen
Springbank Distillery was officially established in 1828 on
the previous illicit site of Archibald Mitchell, great-great
grandfather of the present Chairman, Mr. Hedley Wright. It was
Archibald's sons, John and William who took out a licence and
distilled legally as J & W Mitchell.
However, John and William were farmers as well as distillers,
and quarrels about sheep eventually led them to go their separate
ways. John took his own son Alexander into partnership and the
name changed to J & A Mitchell & Co. Ltd., as it is
The Mitchell Family’s interest in distilling did not confine
itself to just Springbank. The Mitchells were in fact one of
several important distilling dynasties in Campbeltown. Archibald
Mitchell had five children: Hugh, Archibald, John, William and
Successive family generations have followed in John Mitchell's
footsteps, and have strictly adhered to traditional methods of
distillation. Indeed the distillery has remained much the same
since 1828, albeit for a few subtle changes.
While history and tradition have a great influence on Springbank,
the company is also looking to the future. In 2000, J & A
Mitchell & Co. Ltd. purchased the buildings of the Old Glengyle
Distillery which was founded by the same William Mitchell who
took part in the establishment of Springbank; these have been
refurbished, and on 25th March 2004 Mitchells Glengyle Distillery
was opened. This means that the Mitchell family are now the owners
of not only Scotland’s oldest independent distillery but
also Campbeltown’s youngest.
Courtesy of Springbank Distillery
SPRINGBANK 15 YEAR OLD SINGLE
MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Like a storm gathering
of the Kintyre coast. Dark and ominous, yet tastes so
good. The richness comes from the high percentage of
sherry casks used in maturation. This is a truly classic
Springbank, best enjoyed after dinner, or with your
Colour: Dark Russet
Nose: Sherry, dark
chocolate, christmas cake, almonds, toffee and oak.
Palate: Creamy, raisins,
dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla.
Finish: Oak and sherry
notes sustain, mingling with hints of leather.
SPRINGBANK 18 YEAR OLD SINGLE
MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Initial notes of marzipan give way to darker aromas like
liquorice and treacle toffee. Like a home-baked cake full
of everything that smells so good that you can’t
resist another helping.
Incredible depth and balance. That classic Springbank
style is evident, backed up by the fruits of 18 years
maturation in predominantly sherry casks. Rich and oily
from the moment it hits the palate, the whisky develops
to reveal dried fruits and just a hint of smoke. A fine
combination of sugar candy, almonds and Christmas cake
emerge as the whisky slips off the tongue.
On and on and on. A reassuring wisp of smoke rises from
the back of your mouth and around the palate, enveloping
a flavour which contains more raisins, dark chocolate
This whisky doesn’t want to be forgotten in a hurry
- and why should it disappear quickly after we’ve
been holding out for it for so long?
SPRINGBANK CV SINGLE MALT
Springbank CV is the product of a variety of different
cask types and sizes, all specially selected by Director
of Production Frank McHardy and Distillery Manager Stuart
Robertson. Frank and Stuart's years of experience allowed
them to choose a range of casks, every one complementing
the other to ensure a great whisky with lots of flavour
and the classic Springbank Style. What does CV mean? Chairman's
Vat? Curriculum vitae? Cuvee of Vintages? It means whatever
you want it to mean, enjoying the whisky is the most important
Colour: Muted gold with a reddish glow. Nose: The
initial nose is a mix of subdued sherry sweetness, subtle
peat notes, menthol and eucalyptus. Further nosing revealed
a meaty character with complex hints of sesame oil and
Subtle sherry notes come through along with a depth of
oak and spice. These then evolve into notes reminiscent
of our traditional Dunnage warehouses.
The flavours remaining are mainly coming from the sherry
casks, although right at the end a hint of port tannins
can be detected, perhaps suggesting the pedigree of casks
used for the Springbank CV.
LONGROW CV SINGLE MALT SCOTCH
Light amber with slight olive highlights.
Nose: Very creamy,
vanilla custard. The smoke develops gradually, like
a slow burning log fire, never overpowering but always
reassuring. Our guest taster was reminded of marshmallows
toasted on a campfire - crisp on the outside and sticky
sweet in the middle!
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
Finish: The gentle
smoke lingers and lingers leaving you yearning for
SPRINGBANK 21 YEAR SINGLE
MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Springbank's scotch whisky is never chill-filtered,
so all flavours, aromas and textures are retained. It
has legions of supporters across the globe, and a prominent
internet whisky chatroom gave thIS classic 21 year old
bottling the top honours in an all-time favourite whisky
poll. This bottling is now unavailable and is increasing
in value at auction like many others from this fantastic
The Springbank Whisky Distillery
Springbank Distillery Whisky Tours
For information about tours / tastings or to book a place
on a Springbank tour please phone +44 (0) 1586 552085. Or, send
an e-mail to Springbank
By car: From Glasgow it is about 3 hours
to Campbeltown. The most direct route is on the A82 to Tarbet
on Loch Lomond, then the A83 via Inveraray and Lochgilphead.
By bus: From Glasgow there is a regular three times daily
bus service. Travel time is approximately 4 and a 1/2 hours.
By air: From Glasgow airport there are two
flights daily to Macrihanish airport near Campbeltown. For more
information call 0141-889-3181.
Enter by the sign on the wall and up a narrow lane:
park on the left opposite the distillery gates. Facing you as
you enter the gate is the office in a small cottage. Sit on a
barrel in the sun and await your guide.
There are two traditional malting floors at Springbank, each holding
between 10 and 12 tonnes. The first part of the production process
involves soaking, or "steeping" the barley in water
for 35 hours to increase the moisture content to around 47%, and
to trigger germination.
This causes the production of enzymes in the grain that will convert
starch into sugars during the later mashing process. The sprouting
barley is spread on the floors and left for 5 -7 days, during
which time it is turned manually every four hours to prevent matting
of the roots, to regulate temperature and facilitate oxygen flow.
Kilning It is necessary to stop germination
before the new shoot begins to appear so that starch is not consumed
in the interests of the new plant. This is done by drying the
"green malt" over a peat fired kiln. As a lightly peated
whisky, Springbank malt is dried for six hours with peat, then
a further 24 hours with hot air.
Longrow on the other hand is dried entirely over a peat fire for
48 hours resulting in a much more heavily peated malt. A third
malt whisky, Hazelburn, is also produced at the distillery and
for this no peat is used in the "kilning".
Milling The malted barley is stored for around
three weeks before being processed in batches called "mashes".
These are passed through a dresser which removes dust and dirt,
then through a traditional Porteous mill to be ground down to
Mashing Hot water
is then added to the grist and the mixture filled into the mash
tun for conversion of starch into sugars. The sweet liquid that
drains through the grist, "wort", is subsequently cooled
and transferred to washbacks to be fermented.
A total of four waters are added to the grist, each time at
a higher temperature to ensure all the sugar is extracted. The
last two waters have a much lower sugar content and they are
used as the first two waters for the next mash. The remaining
grist, now known as "draff", is sold to local farmers
for animal feed.
Fermentation There are six wooden washbacks
at Springbank made of boat-skin larch, each with a capacity
of 21,000 litres. It is here that yeast is added to the wort,
which eventually ferments the sugars into alcohol.
The process takes at least two days, at the end of
which time there is a beer-like liquid, known as "wash",
with a strength between 4% and 5% ABV. This is now ready to
Distillation At Springbank there are three
copper pot-stills - one wash still and two spirit stills.
The wash still is the only one in Scotland to be heated using
both internal steam coils and a direct burner to the base of
the still. To prevent any solids sticking to the still bottom,
the wash still is fitted with a rummager, a revolving arm which
drags copper chains around the bottom of the still, dislodging
any solids contained in the wash which are likely to stick.
In the process it is constantly exposing new copper which, it
is thought, may contribute to the final flavour of the whisky.
Springbank, it is said, is distilled two and a half times whereas
Longrow is double and Hazelburn triple distilled.
Maturation Before being filled into casks,
the spirit is reduced in strength to 63% ABV, using water from
Crosshill Loch, which is the source of water for the entire
production process. A variety of oak casks are used to mature
Springbank, including those that previously contained bourbon
The maturation process is vital in determining the final character
of the whisky, and has a major influence on its flavour. The
spirit must be matured for three years before it can be called
Scotch whisky - Springbank is matured for at least ten years.
Bottling As a comparatively small distillery
with a limited production, Springbank carries out all its bottling
on site in an old converted warehouse. The bottling process
is not highly automated - instead the dozen or so workers take
a very active role and their presence is vital at every stage.
Each bottle is inspected by hand allowing total quality control
from start to finish. Unlike many other malts, Springbank is
neither coloured nor chill filtered.
Courtesy of Springbank