Campbeltown today is a strangely sober and robust town at the end of
the Kintyre peninsula. In the middle of the 19th centaury it was a thriving
centre for whisky production with the town being home to 34 distilleries at
its peak allowing it to proclaim itself to be "the whisky capital of the
world". Today there are only two distilleries in Campbeltown, Glen
Scotia and Springbank.
Of these two Springbank is by far and away the most successful. The
distillery, produces three distinct types of whisky (the only two other
distilleries to produce more than one are Loch Lomond and Tobermory).
Springbank is quite unusual in that unlike most brands of whisky it is not
chill-filtered, nor does it have colour added. The spirit is aged in ex-bourbon
and ex-sherry casks, although Springbank is experimenting with rum casks as
well. The standard 10 year old bottling is available at 46% volume, but a
100° proof bottling (at 57% volume) is also available. They also produce a
somewhat darker 15 year old. A 21 year old variety of Springbank exists, but is
Single Malt is a very heavily peated whisky. The standard Longrow is
also a ten year old, matured in ex-bourbon casks, while a Sherrywood 10 year
old is also available. There is also an experimental tokaji-cask expression
Hazelburn Single Campbeltown Malt was first distilled in 1997.
Hazelburn is a triple distilled, non-peated whisky.
Springbank is also one of the very few distilleries in Scotland to perform
every step in the whisky making process, from malting the barley to bottling
the spirit, on same premises.
In recent years the Springbank distillery has also brought an old
distillery back from the dead. Some 200 metres away down a small back
street is the Glengyle distillery. In late 2000 the company of
Mitchell's Glengyle Ltd. was formed with the express purpose of renovating and
rebuilding the Glengyle distillery. Mitchell's are associated with the
Springbank distillery and both operations come under the guidance of Mr. Hedley
Wright, a descendant of the Mitchell Family, the original owners of both
Over the next four years the buildings were repaired to an adequate
standard, being restored in line with the local area and the buildings' listed
building status (Protected by law). A new pair of giant stills from
Invergordon, malt mills, a mash tun and washbacks were installed along with all
the related equipment. Production at the new Glengyle distillery began in
2004 with the first spirit expected to be ready by 2014. The whisky from
the new Glengyle distillery will not be called Glengyle, rather it will be
bottled under the name Kilkerran. This is both to avoid confusion with
the vatted malt of the same name and also because traditionally, Campbeltown
malts are not named after a Glen.
The exception to that rule is of course Glen
Scotia. Generally, Glen Scotia is a lightly smoky, salty single
malt with a quite concentrated nose and good length despite a delicate