Springbank, the strongest survivor of Campbeltown, and one of the few family owned distilleries. Once a great center for whisky, and once a region of its own, it still is, but barely. The people behind Springbank do their utmost best to let Campbeltown survive as a region. Glen Scotia is intermittently operated by the crew of Springbank, and of course Springbank themselves are responsible for Longrow, Hazelburn and Kilkerran (Glengyle Distillery). All names from a distant Campbeltown past. Founded in 1828 by the Reid family, who were married into the Mitchells. In 1837 the Mitchell’s bought the distillery. In 1897 J. & A. Mitchell Company Ltd. is founded, the company that is still on the label today. Since 1969 J. & A. Mitchell is also owner of Cadenhead’s. Between 1979 and 1987, Springbank was closed. And since 1989, production is again as it should be. Almost nobody malts themselves these days, but Springbank take the remarkable step to reopen the maltings in 1992. Springbank is a cult malt has a great following, and is by far the most popular malt on Wall Street.
Nose: Strong, buttery, oily. Sparkling lemon curd. Clean and a bit closed at first. Grassy and smells of wet plants and earth. Cow dung in wet grass, and some “young” peat. Coastal fresh, malty and spicy, but not from wood. It has hints of popcorn and milk chocolate. Very rural, gritty and bold.
Taste: Sweet like toffee. Creamy and spicy, this time definitively from wood, and seems a bit winey, although no wine casks, even sherry, were used. It is supposed to be all Bourbon. Mocha, chocolate and peanuts. Yes it’s “Snickers” in a bottle. Slightly unbalanced by the soury woody, and peaty, finish. The finish also leaves a minty sensation on the tongue. Sweet mint as in “After Eight”.
Long live Springbank, very nice and drinkable, with a fine full body. This version is quite peaty and oily, when you think of it. Now I’m curious how a more recent bottle would taste like…