Springbank is probably Scotland’s most traditional distillery. It is run by a descendent of the family that founded the company in the early 1800’s. The John and William Mitchell had a background of illicit distilling before they founded Spirngbank in 1828.
The town that houses Springbank, Campbeltown, was once home to about 30 distilleries.
Prohibition in the United States saw some distilleries falter after rushing to produce sufficient quantities of spirit with the result that quality fell. The Crash of 1928 compounded problems and with the following closures over the years. There are now just three Campbeltown distilleries: Springbank, Glen Scotia and Kilkerran, which the Springbank team opened in 2004. Springbank runs its whole production process in-house from the cutting of peat and malting of the barley (6 hours over a peat fire) through to the partial triple distillation process and the bottling of the final product. Every year, the distilling apparatus is cleaned out and the peatier (48 hours over a peat fire), double-distilled, Longrow is produced before reverting to Springank again. They also make very limited amounts of triple-distilled, air-dried (no peat!) Hazelburn, proving themselves to be innovators as well as traditionalists.
Their 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 the 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 distillery.
Basic Springbank Facts:
- Water Source – Crosshill Loch
- Cask policy – no cask is used more than three times
- Mashing – seven in a week, each averaging 3.35 tonnes (or as it is measured in the distillery 100 coups/200 bushels
- Malting – a 24 hour process with each day split into eight hours shifts during which each floor must be turned and grubbed at least once every shift. Mill – a traditional Porteus mill used to grind the barley into grist powered by nine belts. Employment – ten people working in the bottling hall (they can only fill 6 bottles at a time!) and a further 23 in the distillery. That’s 33 people directly involved in producing Springbank malts