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Springbank Distillery



Initially Springbank was a regular farm which also ran an illegal distillery. In 1828 the two brothers John and William Mitchell received a licence and took over the production from their father Archibald Mitchell. John and William had a falling-out a few years later and William left Springbank to join his other two brothers who were running the Rieclachan Distillery. John Mitchell formed a new company together with his son which they named J & A Mitchell Co Ltd.–the same company that owns Springbank today. Springbank is one of few distilleries that are still family-owned. In fact, Mr Hedley Wright, the current Chairman of the Board, is a lineal descendant of Archibald Mitchell.

Springbank temporarily closed down their production between 1926 and 1935 due to the Depression. Many of the other distilleries in Campbeltown perished during the same period. The fact that Springbank managed to continue their business is counted as proof of the exceptional management skills of the owners. Another likely reason for Springbank’s survival is that their whisky had a relatively mild taste compared to the other whiskies produced on the peninsula. Additionally, Springbank had managed to gain a good reputation in the business community.

In 1960 Springbank decided that malting their Barley themselves no longer was profitable. However the malting facilities were put back into operation again in 1992 after an extensive restoration. As an additional attempt to improve quality insurance Springbank also began to buy their Barley from local farms. Apparently this did not improve quality significantly; today only a small amount of their barley is purchased locally.

Springbank have expanded their product range during the last few decades. In the early 70s they began distilling a smokier whisky which they named ‘Longrow’, and in 1997 a completely unpeated whisky entered their production. This newest member of the Springbank product family will be named ‘Hazelburn’. Both names originate from old distilleries in Campbeltown. In fact, the parking lot at Springbank is built right on top of the old Longrow Distillery. A very interesting fact about Springbank is that their three different whiskies are all made with the exact same equipment. One difference in the production of the three whiskies is the number of distillations; Longrow is distilled twice, Springbank two and a half time (please read the section titled ‘Production at Springbank’ for details) and Hazelburn is distilled three times. To produce three so different whiskies with the same equipment is difficult and the fact that they succeed is clear evidence of their skill.

Longrow has only been bottled as a 10 year-old so far but will soon be available also as a 14 and an 18 year-old. Hazelburn, which will be significantly milder, has not yet been released but is expected to reach the shelves within a few years as either an 8 or a 10 year-old. Springbank also produce a few <blended whiskies>; Campbeltown Loch which is available as either a 5 year-old or a 21 year-old, and Mithchell’s which is bottled as a 12 year-old.

Springbank have always believed in keeping to tradition. They have never practised chill-filtering, neither have they ever coloured their whisky. Most of the production is still done on-site and very few modernizations have been made over the years. This loyalty to tradition is perhaps evidenced by the fact that the company employs 30 people although the distillery is only run at a fourth of its capacity. Incidentally, Springbank have no plans to increase production and start competing with larger distilleries; they will continue marketing their exclusive products in limited volumes.

It is becoming increasingly common for distilleries to form clubs or societies for their devoted customers who wish to know more about their favourite whisky; Laphroaig have their ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ and Ardbeg have their ‘The Ardbeg Committee’. Springbank of course have an equivalent –the ‘Springbank Society’. The annual membership fee is £15. As a member you are entitled to many benefits such as free tours of the distillery and discounts on clothes and whisky. There is also the society’s online ‘Bottle-Bank- in which you may find rare and unusual Springbank bottlings.

If you visit Scotland, do not miss the opportunity of acquainting yourself with the ‘castle whisky’ at Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle. These whiskies are in fact special Springbank bottlings made exclusively for these castles.


A Selection of Springbank

Online Shops

Springbank 10







Springbank 10 år 46%


Springbank 10 år 100 proof 57%


Springbank 12 år "wood expression" 58.5%


Springbank 12 år 175 Anniversary 46%


Springbank 15 år 46%


Springbank 21 år 46%


Longrow 10 år 46%


Longrow 1991 Sherry Cask 46%


Short Fact: Springbank is the heart of the whisky region Campbeltown and one of the most popular distilleries in Scotland.


Character Springbank: Full taste with some saltiness, coconut and peat.
Character Longrow: Intense smokiness, pepper, malt and saltiness. Medium-long aftertaste.


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Production at Springbank


Springbank use water from the Crosshill Loch which is fed with snowmelt from the slopes of Ben Gullion. The water is soft and peaty and is considered very important to the final flavour of the whisky. The barley, mostly Optic, is bought from several large suppliers around Scotland although a few local suppliers are contracted as well.

Every year 25 tons of barley is malted in their own malting floor which was restarted in 1992. Two people turn the barley by hand every eight hours. Springbank use more than 50 tons of peat every year. The Springbank malt is dried for six hours with peat smoke and for eighteen hours with an oil flame, giving the finished malt a ppm of 15. Hazelburn malt is dried for 24-30 hours with an oil flame and is thus completely unpeated. The malt used for Longrow, which has a very intense smokiness similar to many Islay whiskies, is dried with peat smoke for 50 hours to a ppm of 50.

Springbank’s red-painted mash tun is over 100 years old. It is lidless and holds 2 ½ tons. The fermentation which takes 48 hours is done in five washbacks made from Swedish larch. The distillery uses three onion-shaped stills with broad necks. The first still is a classic wash still which is heated both by internal steam pipes and with an open flame. Because of the open flame, the wash still is fitted with ‘rummagers’ –the same solution as is used e.g. at Glenfarclas. The rummager, a kind of copper chain, rotates inside the still to prevent any yeast from staying at the bottom of the still long enough to be burned. The two spirit stills are heated with internal steam pipes.

When making Longrow, the spirit is conventionally distilled first in the wash still and then in one spirit still, whereas Hazelburn is distilled three times. The most complicated distillation is that of Springbank, with its so called ‘two and a half’ distillation. What actually happens is that the spirit from the wash still is divided into two portions, one of which is distilled by the second (spirit) still. This second distillation is then put back in with the remaining spirit from the first distillation and is run together for the final time through the third still.

The raw spirit is stored primarily in new and used sherry and bourbon casks although some rum, port and Madeira casks are also used. The casks are kept in six on-site warehouses. Some of the warehouses are traditional Dunnage Warehouses where visitors may catch a glimpse of the old days.

Springbank is one of few distilleries in Scotland with their own bottling facility. In a converted warehouse a dozen people examine every bottle by hand to ensure that only good quality bottles leave the distillery. The capacity of the bottling facility is 750 000 litres per year which can be compared to the annual output of 170 000 litres. Some of the surplus capacity is put to good use however, since Springbank also do the bottling for Cadenhead. The production staff of six work in shifts; first the malting process is run for a few months followed by a period of mashing and distilling.


Contact Springbank


Springbank Distillers Ltd
85 Longrow
Campbeltown, Argyll
PA28 6EX

Show on map +local weather(Multimap) >>


Phone: +44 (0) 1586 552009
Phone Guided tours:
+44 (0) 1586 552085

+44 (0) 1586 553232

E-mail Guided tours:

Frank MacHardy

Three to four hours by car or bus from Glasgow (<>). It is also possible to reach Campbeltown by ferry from the Isle of Arran (<>).

The distillery is open to visitors between April- September Monday-Thursday. The guided tour must be booked in advance and is priced at £3. The tour gives a good view over Springbank’s history and tradition-bound production.

Owner: J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd (Mr Hedley Wright, the Chairman of the Board is a lineal descendant of the founder Archibald Mitchell)

  Springbank official website >>    
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