Scotland and Scotch whisky: Campbeltown  whisky through the producing distilleries: history, making, maps and tasting notes



Springbank Distillery 
Well Close
Argyll PA28 6ET
+44 1586 552 085 1828

Owner: J. & A. Mitchell Co. Ltd

Creation date 1828

Founded in 1828 by Archibald Mitchell, Springbank has always been the property of the Mitchell family. Archibald is the great-grandfather of the current owner. From the very beginning, the know-how of Archibald Mitchell was universally recognized, and his malt was already purchased for a high price by the contemporary blenders .
In those days about 30 distilleries were active in Campbeltown, while the city just had 1969 inhabitants. One of the characteristics of the whisky produced then is their strongly peaty character, like some of the current Islay whiskies.
The peaty whisky being less to the taste of the blenders in the 1850's, Springbank was one of the first distilleries in Campbeltown to dry their malt above a coal fire. There were coal mines round the town.
Campbeltown's distilleries business was flourishing until the great financial crisis in 1930. From this date, the distilleries were obliged to close, the one after the other. Also Springbank had to close for years.
Less changes have occurred since its creation. Springbank is one of the only distilleries to produce its own malt for 100%.
Fermentation happens in wooden washbacks, and is specially slow. It takes about 70 hours.
Springbank also owns a bottling plant.
The distillery produces 3 different malts. The first, called Springbank is distilled 2,5 times. The malt is dried for 6 hours above a peat fire, then for 24 hours by warm air. The result is a slightly peaty malt. For the distillation, the wash is distilled a first time, the distillation body being separated from the head and tail. Then a part of the low wines is redistilled,also with separation of head and tail. The feints obtained by this process are then distilled with the low wines from the first distillation.
Maturation happens in several types of cask: bourbon, refill, rum, madeira or sherry.
The second malt produced by the distillery is the Longrow, named after an old neighbour distillery, closed since 1896 and whose last existing warehouse shelters Springbank's bottling plant. This malt is dried above a peat fire for 100%, and the taste is stronger. Longrow has a classic double distillation. Nowadays, Longrow is marketed as a 10 years old version, but a 15 years old version is foreseen when the spirit will be that old. The Longrow production was restarted in 1897. Longrow is exclusively matured in refill casks.
The distillation of the third malt began in 1996, and an 8 years old version will be marketed. Hazelburn, named after another distillery closed since 1925 will be available soon. The malt for Hazelburn is exclusively dried by warm air and the maturation happens in Bourbon casks for 100%.
About 70% of the production is marketed as single malt, the remaining entering in the blends Campbeltown and Mitchell 12 years.




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