Bill and I visited the Springbank Distillery in 2012 on our second Hebridean cruise. Naturally, we visited again in March 2016 on our third scotch whisky themed Hebridean cruise. Springbank Distillery is kind of a special place because it represents one of the last of a dying breed. In the early 1900s, Campbeltown was a bustling place where many Campbeltown whiskies were made. Thanks to Prohibition in the United States and advancing technology, the vast majority of Campbeltown whiskies died out. Springbank remains and is one of only two distilleries in Scotland to perform every step in the whisky making process on its premises. Springbank grows and malts its own barley and does its own bottling. It’s also one of a very few family owned distilleries and very little whisky produced at Springbank finds its way into blended whiskies.
I have genuinely liked most of the Springbank whiskies I’ve managed to try. But I also think the distillery is one of the more interesting ones we’ve encountered. With help from the assistant manager of the distillery, Cameron, we were shown what makes Springbank such a unique distillery. I especially enjoyed Cameron’s accent, which was very thick and charming. Like the two guides before him, he displayed a keen wit as he described all the steps of whisky making.
A pile of peat.
The kiln where peat is fired.
It was interesting to see the Springbank Distillery again because this time, they had barley malting on the floor. The first time we visited, we had to imagine that step of the process of whisky making. Cameron explained how labor intensive it is to malt barley. He showed us the primitive tool used to turn the barley so it’s properly prepared for whisky making. He also showed us the very impressive and OLD equipment used at Springbank. Most of their machinery is still working great after many decades of use. I think Springbank is one of the more charming distilleries I’ve been to, as well.
Cameron explains the kiln.
An old fashioned record keeping system… Don’t look now, but I think that’s our captain standing to the left of the pole.
These photos are from 2012. On that trip, we were allowed to visit the room where the casks are stored. We didn’t see it on our most recent trip, but I’m including the photo for interested parties.
After the tour, we walked to the whisky shop, which is off site. We all tried some Springbank and took home a small sample bottle given to tour participants. Then we went shopping. Bill bought a 24 year old cask end that was slightly discounted. He poured himself a dram last night and pronounced it good.
On our first visit to this particular whisky shop, there was a very old bottle of scotch being offered for 50,000 GBP. I took a photo of the bottle. It has since been sold to someone in China. Go figure!
The 50,000 GBP whisky… It’s gone now! A “sold” sign now sits in its place.
The very cool front step of the whisky shop.
I took a photo of this cool van as we were walking back to the ship.
I came back with an unusual souvenir from the Springbank Distillery. I ended up needing to use the ladies room while I was there, but they happened to have just painted it. Though I was warned about the wet paint, I still managed to get some on my jacket!