Springbank pre-tasting

You may not know that Springbank resumed distilling (again) in January this year, after a rather longish brake. Reasons for ceasing the production were partially economic and partially of maintenance and warehouse capacity nature. But there they are, malting and distilling away. So it happens that Chris and I are going to a wee Springbank tasting tonight, and I thought it would be helpful to dig a little and fill myself, and you of course, in on this iconic Campbeltown distillery.

First of all, they are unique in their approach to the whisky making in general. They don’t like anyone touching their toys (I empathise fully). They do everything themselves, their whisky is handcrafted from the start to the finish. Locally grown barley, own floor maltings, own bottling line. Simple. The only other distillery in Scotland to do things like that is Kilchoman, a baby boutique distillery on Islay.

What they currently do in terms of diversifying their output may be difficult to gather for some. They actually produce no less than three different single malts under one roof. They make a full use of their set of three pot stills (one wash still and two low wine stills) and they play about with peating their malt. Seems dodgy? Well, it’s actually not. It’s inspired! Check this out.

Longrow

Classic double distillation and malted barley dried entirely over peat fire give this malt a robust and Islay-like character.

Standard bottlings currently available: Longrow 10 yo (awesome!), Longrow 10 yo CS, Longrow 14 yo, Longrow CV (so-so), Longrow Gaja Barolo.

Springbank

For making their flagship malt they employ lightly peated malt and a unique two-and-a-half-times distillation (part of the low wines going through a mid-distillation). House style is rich, complex and assertive with salty and briny notes, however different bottlings vary significantly.

Standard bottlings currently available: Springbank 10 yo (bourbon cask), Springbank 10 yo CS, Springbank 15 yo (sherry cask), Springbank 1997 Vintage Batch 2 and countless limited bottlings from the recent past.

Hazelburn

Triple distilled, unpeated. Very light, gentle and subtle in character, not unlike Irish whiskeys.

The only bottling currently available is Hazelburn 8 yo but a 12 yo one is due this year!

Both Hazelburn and Longrow are names of defunct Campbeltown distilleries.

Glengyle

Springbank is also associated with Mitchell’s Glengyle distillery located a stone’s throw from them. Originally founded in 1872, silenced in 1925, Glengyle was restored, rebuilt and reequipped between 2000 and 2004, and resumed production, with the first official bottling planned for 2014. Due to the name Glengyle being used by a blended malt brand, the whisky from this distillery will be called Kilkerran.

Look out for some Springbank tasting notes tomorrow!

Lucas

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