J & A Mitchell & Co
Not generally accessible
Founded in 1828, the Springbank distillery has remained under family ownership since. Something of a survivor, Springbank is not only one of the few distilleries to remain in independent family hands (it is owned by the Mitchell family); Springbank is also one of only three distilleries to survive from the thirty-plus distilleries, which once formed the centre of the Scotch malt whisky industry in the tiny fishing town of Campbeltown.
Springbank is also distinguished by being the only Scottish distillery to floor malt all the barley it requires; it is also one of the few to bottle on site, making this the only ‘estate-bottled’ malt.
Springbank is also unusual in its use of direct heated stills with rummagers, and in its practice of distilling two-and-a-half times instead of the usual double-distillation. If that were not enough USPs, it’s also not artificially coloured, has never been chill-filtered and is hydrated with the same mountain spring water from Crosshill Loch, as is used throughout the distilling process.
Springbank produce their eponymously named whisky plus Hazelburn and Longrow. All three malts are made using the same equipment but with slightly different techniques to produce three very individually styled malts. The malted barley used to make Longrow is dried over a peat fire for 48 hours to produce a heavily peated, double distilled malt. In contrast, Hazelburn is unpeated and triple distilled.
If you are considering being one of the over 4,000 people to make the pilgrimage to visit Springbank this year, then you’ll find Campbeltown is a pretty isolated place so it’s worth booking a hotel or bed and breakfast for at least one night.