Because the Springbank distillery would be our first ever distillery to visit, we had made reservations for the gold tour. The distillery is located in Campbeltown, the only city that can call itself a whisky-region, situated on the Kintyre peninsula in the south-west of Scotland.
If you ever make the trip from Inveraray to Campbeltown, we strongly recommend taking the scenic route, with the isle of Arran on your left hand side.
Springbank is one of the few distilleries in Scotland to do everything in-house, from the malting of the barley to the maturing and bottling of the whisky; everything is done on the premises of the distillery itself. Something quite unique in the modern whisky industry, where most of these activities (if not all, except the necessaries) are done off-site, at a centralized location run by large, specialized cooperations.
The distillery produces three types of whisky:
Springbank, distilled two and a half times and uses a lightly peated barley.
Longrow, distilled two times and uses a more heavily peated barley.
Hazelburn, distilled three times and uses an unpeated barley.
The distillery owners have also re-opened another distillery in 2004; the Glengyle distillery, that produces the Kilkerran whisky. It is located on walking distance from the Springbank distillery and is currently only operating one month a year, using some of the equipment of the Springbank distillery. Kilkerran is currently only bottled in small batches, because they are waiting for it to mature until it is about ten or twelve years old, taking in account that it will be mature enough by then. We have tasted a seven year old bottling of the Kilkerran, and both of us (but especially my wife) found it very promising.
As part of the gold tour, we were invited to have some well prepared small snacks that should go very well with some of the whiskies, in the tasting room of Cadenhead’s whisky shop. Besides the tasting of the standard expression of the Springbank 10 and the rather special Kilkerran – work in progress 3 (7yo), we could select a number of the whiskies that were displayed in the tasting room.
We ended up selecting of the following bottles:Sadly, I have not taken the time and effort to make tasting notes. I will try and make up for this by tasting the three bottles of “CV” expressions we bought on our way out.
After the tour, we went back to the lovely Ardshiel Hotel where we were invited to a meeting of the monthly whisky club meeting, something that I did not hesitate long about to say yes to. It was a lovely gathering, where I learned a lot about the Scots and their way of drinking Scotch.
Springbank 10 – 46%
Kilkerran 7yo – 46% (my wife’s new favorite whisky)
Hazelburn 8 – Sauternes Wood – 55% – 5yo in Regall Bourbon – 3yo in Sauternes
Springbank 18 – 46%
Springbank Rundlets & Kilderkins – 2001/2012 – 49,4% (my “winner”)
Springbank 12 – Claret Wood – 54,4% – 9yo in Regall Bourbon – 3yo in Claret
Longrow 18 – 46%
The theme of that specific evening was Lowland whisky and the host had selected the Littlemill 12, the Bladnoch 1993/2009 – Connoisseurs’ Choice, the Glenkinchie 12 and the Auchentoshan – classic.
We had a great time and hope to be back some day.