SPRINGBANK (1828) zie ook HAZELBURN en LONGROW
Campbeltown, Argyll. Eigenaar: J. & A. Mitchell & Co, Ltd.
Springbank is gesticht in 1828 door een zekere Reid, die in financiële moeilijkheden kwam in 1837 en de distilleerderij verkocht aan Archibald Mitchell, schoonfamilie van Reid.
Springbank is een heel traditioneel werkende distilleerderij, het gehele produktieproces vindt plaats in eigen regie. Springbank mout zelf, met een onderbreking van twintig jaar (1970 - 1990)
men eest zelf, medewerkers graven zelf de turf af en sinds kort komt de gerst ook weer uit de omgeving.
Springbank heeft drie ketels en men stookt twee en een halve maal. Men werkt ongeveer op 25 % van de kapaciteit van 750.000 liter spirit per jaar. Dit doet men om de markt voor Springbank niet negatief te beïnvloeden.
De gerst voor de whisky van Springbank wordt boven turf gedroogd gedurende zes uur, en boven hete lucht gedurende dertig uur. Het water komt van Crosshill Loch, anderhalve kilometer van de distilleerderij verwijderd.
Men heeft een eigen bottellijn, waar ook de whiskies van Cadenhead, een dochterfirma worden gebotteld. 99 % van de whisky van Springbank wordt als single malt whisky verkocht.
De tegenwoordige eigenaar is Hedley Wright, een directe mazaat van de Mitchell's. Roy Allan was de manager van Springbank gedurende veertig jaar en werd opgevolgd door John McDougall in 1986. De brouwer is Hector Gatt. De tegenwoordige manager van de distilleerderij is Frank McHardy (2000).
Springbank was gesloten van 1980 tot 1987, wegens de crisis die er toen (weer) heerste in de whiskyindustrie. Springbank overleefde toen doordat de toenmalige marketing manager Gordon Wright, enorm inteerde op de voorraden whisky en Springbank heel goed verkocht, vooral in Amerika en Japan, Springbank werd toen een cult whisky.
Er werken 37 mensen en dat is heel veel voor een distilleerderij van deze omvang. In 1987 - 1988 werd er voor het eerst weer whisky geproduceerd. Na een bouw- en verbouwperiode van achttien maanden onder de leiding van de toenmalige manager John Dougall werd in April 1992 de mouterij weer in bedrijf genomen.
Dit was van groot belang voor de tweede malt whisky van Springbank, Longrow, waarvoor zwaarder geturfrookte gerst wordt gebruikt. Tegenwoordig wordt de turf voor Springbank gestoken op Islay. Springbank bottelt zijn whisky met 46 %. In 1995 werd 'triple' uitgebracht, Single Scottish Spirit, bedoeld als trendy drank voor in bar's in de grotere steden. Gebotteld in 35 cl flessen en met een alcohol percentage van 60 %.
De Mash tun is 3,7 ton
De vijf Wash backs zijn elk 20.000 liter.
De Wash still is 10.000 liter, de twee Spirit stills elk 6000 liter.
Malting: 25 tons at a time. 200 tons malted per season
Peat: 50 tons puchases each year. Comes from Tomintoul
Peating levels: Longrow 60 ppm. Springbank 15 - 20 ppm. Hazelburn unpeated.L
Water: Crosshill Loch
Mashtun: 2.55 mash (10 hour mashing cycle.
Distillation: Longrow double distillation. Springbank 2 and a half times. Hazelburn triple distillation.
Frank McHardy, manger van Springbank in 2002: 'This place could make 750.000 litres spirit a year, these days it's making 160.000 - 170.000 litres. Hang on a minute, here's a cult whisky, which could sell all it made ten times over, being run at a quarter of its capacity? When you increase volume you start competing with Glenfiddich and The Macallan, you have to have marketing butgets and you start being dragged into cut-price deals with retailers. We could double production but we'd lose our niche market and profits margins would be reduzed. That's dangerous for a firm our size. We have to make a margin. We've got 37 people working here!
1828 The Reid family, inlaws of the Mitchells founds the distillery as the fourteenth in Campbeltown
1837 The Reid family encounters financial difficulties and John and William Mitchell buy the distillery
1872 William Mitchell founded Glengyle in 1872 and when he and John parted ways, John Mitchell continued operating Springbank first alone and then with his son Archibald
1897 J. & A. Mitchell Company Ltd is founded.
1926 The depresssion forces the distillery to close
1933 The distillery is back in production
1960 Own maltings cease
1969 J. & A. Mitchell buys the idependent bottler William Cadenhead
1973 The first distillation of Longrow
1979 The distillery closes
1985 A 10 year old Longrow is launched as an experiment
1987 Limited production restarts
1989 Production restarts
1990 Longrow becomes a standard label
1992 Springbank takes its own maltings again
1997 First distillation of Hazelburn, a triple distilled and unpeated malt
1998 Springbank 12 years old is launched
1999 Dha Mhile 7 years old is the world's first organic single malt and is released as a limited supply of 1000 bottles in a joint venture between Springbank and John Savage-Onstwedder
2001 Springbank 1965 'Local barley', 36 years old and 741 bottles, is launched. Barley coal, peat and water are all obtained locally
2002 Number one in the series Wood Expressions is a 12 year old with five years on Demerara rhum casks. Next is a Longrow sherry cask 13 years old. A relaunche of the 15 years old replaces the 21 years old which problably will not peappear untill 2010
2003 50 sets of six 20 cl bottles aged 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years old are launched to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the distillery
2004 J. & A. Mitchell's main owner, Hedley Wright, opens Glengyle Distillery which has been closed since March 1925 Mitchell's Glengyle Ltd manages the distillery which sells the whisky under the
Springbank 10 years old 100 proof is launched as well as Springbank Wood Expression Bourbon, cask strenght, Longrow 14 years old, Springbank 32 years old, Springbank 14 years Port Wood with 2 years in Port Pipes
2005 2400 bottles of Springbank 21 years old take the market by surprise when they are released in March. The next batch will not appear until in 2011.The first version of Hazelburn 8 years old is released 5th September. Longrow Tokaji Wood Expression is launched.
Da Mhile is Keltisch voor 2000
John Savage - Onstwedder, een van afkomst Nederlandse boer, die van 1981 tot 1986 deel uitmaakte van het biologisch - dynamisch landbouwcollectief ' De Kleine Aarde ' te Boxtel, verhuisde naar Wales en begon opnieuw. Hij leerde een Schotse vrouw kennen, trouwde en kreeg een droom, hij wilde de eerste biologisch - dynamische whisky maken.
Na een lange zwerftocht langs vele Schotse distilleerderijen vond hij Springbank bereid mee te doen.
De gehele distilleerderij werd gereinigd en in 1992 werd deze whisky geproduceerd, vijftien sherryvaten gevuld die eind 1999 zullen worden gebotteld.
'Da Mhile (pronounced da vee lay) is Gaelic for 2000. As an organic farmer it was my vision to create the first organic single malt Scotch whisky in the world.
I wanted it to be specially hand crafted, in time for the most significant New Year's celebrations in a thousend years. It was produced at the revered Springbank distillery in June 1992 and matured in sherry casks. Only Springbank could meet my exacting criteria to produce the purest malt one could ever hope to enjoy.
The whisky has been bottled without being chill filtered, a process which removes much of the flavour. There is no caramel added for colour uniformity. Da Mhile is a completely natural product and in my opinion the Millennium malt that truly is the real Uisge Beatha, 'The Water of Life".
As a consequency of the continuing instability of basic raw material prices, which have
doubled within the last year, the management of J. & A. Mitchell and Company Ltd have
decided to cut back the production of new spirit at their Springbank and Glengyle Distilleries
until prices settle.
The state of the materials market will be kept under continuous review
The opportunity will be taken to carry out necessary maintenance work and create the in-
creased warehousing accommodation required for future development
In the short term there will however, regrettably, be a few staff redundancies
There will be no impact on the availability of bottles Springbank or the Kilkerran whisky
as the company has ample stocks of young maturing whisky which will enable it to con-
tinue supplying its home and export markets as normal
J. & A. Mitchell and Company Ltd
21 September 2009
This week was very busy at Springbank distillery: 60 tonnes of local barley, type
Westminster and grown by local farmer David Young at Langy farm on the south
The moisture content is arount 16 - 17 %
Stuart Robertson, manager and staff have been kept drying the barley and putting it
into storage for at least 3 months
During May and June 2010 the barley will be used for Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn
Springbank had to take hard decisions and decided to cut back production due to the high
cost of utilities and barley the last years
The Royal Burg of Campbeltown is situated at the south end of the Kintyre Peninsula,
That long strip of Argyll which divides the Firth of Clyde from the Atlantic Ocean and
from where the back gardens of Irekand can be distinguished with binoculars on any
clear washing day.
In A.D. 503 at Dalruadhain, later called Ceann Loch Cille Chairian and finally Campbeltown,
Fergus established the parliament of the minute Celtic kingdom of the Scots of which he
was the first King.
It could hardly have been anticipated that he was to found a monarchy whose domains
were extend in time to cover all present - day Scotland, Great Britain and eventually
large protions of the then unknown world: Contemprary successors of Fergus are
crowned whilst seated on that same Stone of Destiny from which he ruled his unruly
St. Columba lived here or three years teaching Christianity for the first time on Scottish
Soil before he sailed to the Isle of Iona 1.400 years ago to within a few months.
It was from Campbeltown that Flora MacDonald sailed with her family for American in
1774, after having played her historic part in the closing chapters of the '45 rebellion
of "Bonnie Prince Charles".
In Campbeltown Exciseman Robert Burns wooed his "Sweet Highland Mary" at a time
when the small burgh was a centre of Scotch Whisky distilling.
The Scots have distilled Whisky here from the earliest times, for the drink is a Celtic
one and the skill of manufacture was a common property of the Western Highlander
and the Irishman.
The first written account of Whisky from this area is however, quite late , in 1591, and
it is in the records of the "Pursmaister"of the Thane (or Laird) of Cawdor: "In Taylone
(a village about 15 miles from Campbeltown) in September of 1591, " deliuret to
Makconchie Stronechormichels man same day that brocht the aquavytie vis viij d".
Shortly afterwards occurred the most important event in the history of Scotch Whisky:
The Statues of the Icolmkill ( 1609) : in order to combat the ill effects of the behavior
of the Western Highlanders of imported Wines and Spirits, only the consumtion of
home made drink was permitted.
This resulted in giving Scotch Whisky such a boost that its fame spread to the rest of
Scotland as also did the traditions for making it, In the same year the first license
to produce Whisky coomercially in Campbeltown was awarded to John Boyll
Private distilling was not seriously tampered with till 1779 when the capacity of private
stills was reduced by law from ten gallons to two gallions. Two years later private dis -
tilling was declared illegal. Licensed commercial distilling was then subjected to increa-
sing taxation which discriminated against taxation which discriminated against the
Campbeltown distillers compared with theit east Highland and Lowland competitors
so that in 1797 legal distilling was not worth the trouble: this was the date of the last
license in Campbeltown for 20 years. It is as well to add that in the following three years
292 illicit stills were seized and destroyed by the authorities in Campbeltown.
Having killed their golden goose the Westminster Gouvernment tried several negative
an unsuccessful attempts at artificial respiration and it was only when they reduced the
duty to 9s.41/2d per gallon that the first legal distillery in campbeltown was restarted;
a further drastic reduction in duty in 1823 made legal distilling competive against
"smuggling" and then began the golden days of the Campbeltown distillers.
A list of the Campbeltown distilleries :
1817 - 1924 Campbeltown Distillery
1823 - 1926 Kinloch Distillery
1823 - 1851 Caledonian Distillery
1824 - 1886 Meadow Distillery
1824 - 1896 Longrow Distillery
1824 - 1928 Lochh (h)ead Distillery
1825 - 1922 Dalaruan Distillery
1825 - 1925 Hazelburn Distillery
1825 - 1924 Burnside Distillery
1825 - 1934 Rieclachan Distillery
1825 - 1921 Kintyre Distillery
1826 - 1850 Union Distillery
1827 - 1852 Highland Distillery
1828 - 1952 Glenramskill Distillery
1828 - 1844 Argyll Distillery
1828 Springbank Distillery
1828 - 1834 Broombrae Distillery
1830 - 1927 Albyn Distillery
1830 - 1926 Springside Distillery
1830 - 1860 West Highland Distillery
1830 - 1852 Lochside Distillery
1832 - 1925 Dalintober Distillery
1832 - Scotia Distillery
1834 - 1837 Thistle / Mountain Dew Distillery
1834 - 1926 Glenside Distillery
1835 - 1837 Mossfield Distillery
1834 - 1847 Drumore Distillery
1835 - 1860 Tober an Righ / Toberanrigh Distillery
1835 - 1925 Lochruan Distillery
1844 - 1923 Argyll Distillery
this is another distillery as the Argyll Distillery founded in 1828
1868 - 1927 Benmore Distillery
1872 - 1925 Glengyle Distillery
1877 - 1923 Glen Nevis Distillery
1879 - 1923 Ardlussa Distillery
The Campbeltown distilleries were quickly able to corner the Glasgow market, a city with
which there had been a good smuggling trade, and thereby ensure the pre - eminence of
Campbeltown amongst the other distilling areas of Scotland.
In 1897, 1.810,226 gallons of Whisky were made in Campbeltown alone. Success, however,
contained the seeds of destruction and startling change overtook the trade in the earlier
portion of the present century.
There are probably several causes of the ensuing decline of the Campbeltown distilleries.
Speculators bought large quantities of Whisky causing overproduction which not only led
to their own ruin but also the ruin of several distillers (is there a present day lesson here ?)
Futhermore, it is feared that during the times of plenty some distillers, confident of their
Glasgow monopoly" became careless and produced inferior Spirit which they filled into
poor - quality casks. The result was that Whiskies once known by such phrases as "The
Hector of the West"and "The Deepest Bourdon of the Choir" gained the description of
" Stinking Fish ".
It is true that the distilleries which made such poor Spirit were the first to fail but in their
fall they dragged almost the whole Campbeltown trade with them.
The economic depression of the 1920s and "30s reduced the drinking capacity of Glasgow
so greatly as to emphasise overpoweringly the over production of previous years.
The East and Central Highland distillers were quick to make an entry into Glasgow and by
early 1930s had almost completely displaced the Campbeltown giants.
Only one distillery managed to survive the economic depression and the indiscriminate
Condemnation of Campbeltown Whisky: another distillery, after lying dormant for some
years, was able to restart trading under new ownership.
These two distilleries Springbank and Scotia ( renamed Glen Scotia are the only two survivors of the 34 built in former years.
Although many of the warehouses of the old distilleries are still in use for various purposes
there is nothing left of the plant and little or nothing of the distillery buildings themselves,
only here and there the crumbling shell of a still - houise or tun - room reminds the Campbeltown people of their century - long boom.
Springbank and Glen Scotia have succeeded in overcoming the former Campbeltown stigma
and are appreciated and used by most blending houses, large and small. The even, centre -
of - the - palate flavor which made the campbeltown so famous is the early days is consideredby some to be indispensable in knitting together the many components of a modern blend. It remains to be seen wheter over the years the Campbeltown will again resume its dominance of the whisky trade.
Springbank Distillery is situated in the heart of Campbeltown and the premises to - day,
comprise not only the original buildings of 1828, but also parts of the extinct distilleries
of Longrow, Riechlachan, , Union, Springside and Argyll.
It was originally the fourteenth distillery to be built in the golden days of the early 19th
century but is now the senior and larger of the two remaining distilleries.
It is in the nearly unique position of being the only distillery left in Scotland which is ex -
clusively owned and controlled by the original family of distillers.
THE MITCHELL FAMILY
The story of the Mitchell family is in a way a history of recent Campbeltown distilling
and it is impossible to give an account of Springbank Distillery without mentioning
several of the other distilleries of old Campbeltown.
Local records suggest that the Mitchell family came to Argyll with the second wave of
Lowland settlement about 1660. Many if the family were maltsters and, in the pre
Jacobite days , it must be assumedthat they were also distillers.
Some Mitchells were a little more colouful, for instance James Mitchell, a weaver in
Campbeltown, was a rebel in the Marquis of Argyle's rising in support of Monmouth in
1685, but his error was counterbalanced by other members of the family, James and
Archibald Mitchell, another Archibald and his son Robert, who in 1692, are recorded
as being Fencible Men of Argyle: in other words they were members of the Home
Guard of those times.
The history of the Springbank Distillery can be conveniently begun with Archibald Mitchell
( 1734 - 1818 ) a farmer near Campbeltown and the great - great grandfather of the dis -
tillery's present managing director. Archibald's sister married Hugh Ferguson, a maltster
so it is not surprising that Archibald (11) traded as a maltster, the business of his uncle/
father - in - law, Archibald ( 11 )'s malt barns were on the site of the future Spring -
bank Distillery and were indeed to become the original malting of the distillery.
Although it is known from the private ledger of a local coppersmith that Archibald operated
a still for Whisky, he never troubled to put himself on the right side of the law by taking out a
licence; it was left to his sons, Hugh, Archibald ( 111 ) John and William and one of his daughters,
Mary, to bring themselves within the law.
Archibald ( 111 ) was one of the original partners of Riechlachlan Distillery ( 1825 - 1935 ) where
he was later joined by his brother Hugh.
Springbank Distillery was built on the site of Archibald ( 111 ) 's illegal distillery in 1828, by the Reid
Family who were the inlaws of the Mitchells but, as the Reids soon found themselves in financial
troubles , John and Willam Mitchell bought the property in 1837 and thereby restored their father's
distillery to the direct line of descent. The new and legal form of J. and W. Mitchell made their first
sale on 14th November 1837, to one Isebela Brown of Campbeltown, who bought 24 gallons at 8s,
5d per gallon. This price included the government duty; the present price of a proof gallon of new
Springbank Whisky is 12 pound 7s, 5d, inclusively duty! Not all the new firm's customers were to
disappear into obscurity, like Isebel Brown during the first year of trading, on 8th October 1838, John
Walker of Kilmarnock, bought 112 gallons at 8s, 8d per gallon and all the world knows that this
John Walker 1838 is "still going strong". Samuel Dow of Glasgow, who made an earlier purchase on 12th March 1838 is another well - known name in the trade that has survived through the years.
However, trouble lay ahead, for John and William, who were farmers as well as distillers, quarreled
violently, not about Whisky, but about sheep. William left Springbank to join his brothers at
Riechlachan Distillery, so John took his own son into partnership and thus changed the firm's name
to J. and A. Mitchell which it still remains. It should be noticed that William was not content to rest
in partnership with his Riechlachan brothers for, in 1872 he started Glengyle Distillery as sole pro -
prietor. Neither , for that mather, did John remain satisfied with Springbank and, in 1851, he was
one of three partners that bought out Tober an righ Distillery which had been build by his cousin
Alexander Wylie in 1835.
The peat used to dry the malt is cut within a few miles of the distillery by the company itself.
Springbank can manufacture all its malt requirements and is one of the few distilleries in
Scotland that can do this. The dried malt is stored in metal bins before being ground into
A course flour or "grist ". The grist is mashed with hot water in a large iron and copper tun
of convential type and the resulting sweet solution, the "wort "is strained away from the
undissolved malt husks, the "draff "and is cooled by passing through a paraflow heat exchanger and
run into the fermenting vessels the "wash - backs ". The unwanted draff
is a high quality cattle food and is sold entirely to local farmers. The actual wash - backs are
made of Scottish "boat skin "larch wood, for it is the belief of the proprietors that a steel wash - back,
although less expensive to install and maintain gives a distinct taint to the final Whisky, in an
analogous manner to the distinctive tone given to a violon by the use of steel strings. In the wash -
backs yeast is added to the worts which then ferment to become a
sour Beer - like liquid called wash.
From this stage onwards operations are acutely watched by officers of H.M. Customs and
Exise to ensure that no alcohol goes into consumption without payment of duty.
The wash is pumped into a large copper still which is heated underneath and also simultaneously,
by an internal coil through which superheated steam is passed.
This method of heating a wash - still is the traditional Campbeltown technique and has been
used at Springbank for as long as memory and records indicate; it is thought that no dis -
tilleries outside Campbeltown use this method. The hot vapours that are driven off the
wash are condensed again by passing them trough a long coiled "worm" of copper tube
which is cooled with running water. When all the alcohol has been driven off the wash,
distillation is stopped and the alcohol free "pot ale" remaining in the still is run to waste
The collected distillate, known as the low Wines is carefully divided into two portions, one
of which is distilled again in a small "doubling still" to give "feints"which are mixed with the
remaining low Wines and run into a third still where the final distillation takes place. A
large portion of the Spirit condensed in the final distillation is rejected and it is only an
accurately controlled "middle cut" that is run into the Spirit store for filling the customers
In spite of mechanization that has taken place in recent years all the vital processes in the
manufacture of Springbank Whisky have remained unaltered so theactual quantity of
Whisky produced to - day is only slightly greater than at the beginning of the century.
The water used for malting, mashing and cooling all comes from the Crosshill Loch which
Lies on the outskirts of "Whisky City" about one mile from the distillery.
Article written in the early nineteen sixties by Mr. Hedley G. Wright, the head of the family
firm which owns the distillery. He is directly descended from the Mitchells.
2008 Springbank Distillers Ltd, Longrow, Campbeltown
Frank McHardy director of production at Springbank distillery:
A specific variety from a single farm within 8 miles radius of Springbank is selected each
Examples of the barley types grown were in:
2012 We have some 20 acres of Bere barley being grown for us on a farm at Machrihanish
Which was in the early part of the 19e century used to be owned and farmed by a member of the Mitchell family, the founders of Springbank distillery
Springbank was closed between 1982 and 1988