Established in 1828, Springbank stands as Scotland’s oldest independent, family-owned distillery. Priding itself on traditional production methods, the distillery continues to set the standards for unique and highly-sought after whiskies.
From its humble beginnings on the site of Archibald Mitchell’s illicit still, Springbank today is one of the most prominent whiskies produced out of Campbeltown. Springbank is one of only three distilleries operating in the Campbeltown area. The distillery is now in the hands of current Chairman, Hedley G. Wright, Mitchell’s great, great grandson – the fifth generation of the Mitchell family to own and manage Springbank.
The team uses traditional production methods and are involved in each and every step of the whisky making process – making it the most handmade in Scotland. Unlike any other distillery in the country, 100% of this process is carried out here on one site, giving them unrivalled control over the quality of the whisky.
Passion and skill are poured into every last drop during production; ensuring whisky drinkers consistently enjoy the tastes and characteristics that have become synonymous with Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow – the three distinct single malts made at the distillery. A stone throw’s away, is Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, who produced Kilkerran Whisky, the newest single malt to come from the Campbeltown region.
Springbank Single Malt
Distilled 2.5 times and lightly peated, this remains a signature Single Malt range of Springbank. This Single Malt range is also available in 10, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 25 Years. That said, the Single Malt Aged 10 years and 15 are assuredly two of the favourites. The former is matured in 60% Bourbon and 40% Sherry Casks, which gifts it a unique profile.
On the nose, damp peat, identifies this as one of Campbeltown’s finest. A whiff of the flagship malt reveals zesty citrus notes, heather and honey along with subtle notes of malt and vanilla. A sip unveils equal measures of complexity and robustness. An oily mouth feel and plenty of spice, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, delivering a delicate balanced character. The finish unveils lingering hints of sweet salted caramel, toffee and drying peat.
The Springbank Single Malt Aged 15 Years on the other hand is matured in 100% Sherry casks providing big and bold notes derived from the Oloroso cask maturation. Its peaty character is more well defined with notes of sooty kiln smoke and tobacco leaves alongside hints of prunes, walnuts, figs, Demerara sugar and cocoa powder. The finish is encased in notes of soot, leather and walnuts bringing a smooth end to the whisky fondly known as Springbank’s gentle giant.
Kilkerran Single Malt
Both the 12 and 16 years aged whiskies have been double distilled and lightly peated, which should appease single malt afficionados. Both blends are matured in 70% Bourbon and 30% Sherry casks. On the nose, the 12 offers notes of sweet confectionary and marzipan with subtle hints of peat smoke.
The dram’s palate is initially zesty with citrus notes along with pepper and spice with an oiliness that is typical of a Campbeltown whisky. Peat smoke leads this whisky into the finish before ending with sweet butterscotch.
The 16 on the other hand offers citrus elements familiar to Kilkerran on the nose. Think oranges, opal fruits with notes of bananas and strawberries, which are enveloped by malt and cereal. A swirl and a sip reveals sweetness of pear drops and toffee apples encased in soft peat smoke. Liquorice, peppermint and peat smoke completes the dry finish of this exquisite single malt.
Hazelburn & Longrow
Rounding up the range of Springbank whiskies are two distinctive, individualistic whiskies that cater to specific tastes of whisky lovers. Hazelburn Single Malt Whisky was first produced in Springbank in 1997. Aged 10 years, the whisky is triple distilled and unpeated, suiting the taste of those who yearn for a lighter, elegant dram.
Matured in 100% bourbon casks, manuka honeycomb, vanilla and fudge are prominent notes on the nose of this whisky. Its smooth, elegant palate benefits from the triple distillation process whilst the bourbon maturation complementing the dram with rich vanilla and milk chocolate that bloom with refreshing honey and zest before ending with a refined chocolatey, creamy finish.
Fans of peated whisky will find the Longrow Single Malt Whisky right up their alley. Produced through a 48-hour peat drying process in the kiln along with double distillation results in a more heavily peated and oily character for this whisky.
Creamy vanilla custard opens the nose of this whisky before the aroma of smoke and herbs and fruits reveal itself. It’s palate is incredibly well balanced with rich creamy notes and a slight medicinal hint with ever present and welcome smoke, which brings this single malt whisky to a close.
(Images: Springbank Distillery)