Lots by Springbank at Sotheby's
As the pride of Campbeltown, and one of Scotland’s most collected whiskies, Springbank is famed for its traditional approach to whiskymaking with iron mashtuns, wooden washbacks, direct fired stills and worm tubs all in operation in one form or another. Springbank’s distillate, made using medium-peated home-malted barley since recommissioning its floor maltings in 1992, is an interesting one as after its long fermentation it is partially triple distilled yet despite this its new make is remarkably viscous. The balanced, slightly smoky style of Sprinbank contrasts other two distillates from this distillery: Hazelburn, which has no peat at all, and Longrow, its heavily peated expression.
Now home to only 3 distilleries, Campbletown used to be the beating heart of Scotch Whisky production, described by Alfred Barnard as “Whisky City”. In total 33 distilleries were founded in Campbeltown over the years and many more illegal stills provided by local Coppersmith Robert Armour. In fact, the wealth of local resources and infrastructure such as a coal mine at Drumlemble, a regular Glasgow ferry for barley shipments, and nearby peat bogs made distilling affordable and accessible. This also led to several different styles, from triple-distilled spirit to coal fire-kilned barley, but the most notorious of Campbeltown flavours was that of Islay-style peat. A trip through modern day Campbeltown is like a ghost train ride through whisky history with old maltings, warehousing and distillery buildings punctuating every turn. The sadly closed Hazelburn distillery plays a large role in the history books of not just Scotch Whisky, but also Japanese Whisky, as this was the workplace of Masataka Taketsuru while he lived in Campbeltown in 1920. Another now silent Campbeltown distillery, Longrow, which sadly closed before 1885, is also kept alive in name by Springbank, who operate their bottling hall within Longrow’s old bonded warehouse. Longrow’s name is dedicated to their most heavily peated spirit releases.