Springbank's three labels are the eponymous Springbank and its brothers Longrow and Hazelburn, named for historic distilleries which once stood nearby. Springbank is lightly peated and heralded as an exemplar of the Campbeltown style. Hazelburn is Springbank's triple-distilled, unpeated malt and Longrow, by contrast, is heavily peated, and only distilled twice.
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Campbeltown, Springbank's hometown, was one of the busiest Whisky producing locations around until a Highland trainline introduced competition. Peaking at 34, today only three distilleries are still running.
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Located on the Southern Kintyre peninsula, Springbank is one of the last survivors of the once-proud Campbeltown single malt producers. Springbank stands near Campbeltown Loch, in the Southwest of Scotland, about three hours' drive from Glasgow.
The Springbank Distillery traces its roots back to 1828, when it was founded by the Reid family. Following financial hardship they sold the enterprise to John and William Mitchell.
The Mitchell family has overseen production through the present day, making Springbank one of the only family-run distilleries of such longstanding tenure in the world.
Springbank is noted for adhering to traditional practices. Careful attention to detail and a belief in old styles of work, complement the complex distillation regiment. This is what allows a relatively small operation to produce three very distinct lines of Whisky.
Long fermentation periods, low-gravities and high esters are characteristic of the fruity Springbank base, which is then distilled in three different ways, depending on the spirit being produced. Springbank employes a variety of woods for its maturation, including ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, refill, wine and rum.
It's the only distillery in Scotland to malt, distill, mature and bottle on the same site, making it uniquely self-contained and consistent.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
OwnerJ&A Mitchell & Company
No. of stills3
AddressSpringbank Distillery 85 Longrow Campbeltown Argyll PA28 6ET United Kingdom
A transcript for non-audio situations
Hello. And welcome to Whisky.com, where fine spirits meet. And today I'm here at Campbeltown in Scotland. And behind me is the Springbank Distillery. Springbank was established in 1828. And it was illicited distillery before, so it means there was some distilling that was illegal. Springbank has many brands as you can see up there. You have the Springbank brand, a lightly peated Whisky. Then you have Longrow, a heavily peated Whisky. And you have the Hazelburn Whisky, which is a non-peated Whisky. And today I'm gonna show you how all these brands are being made, and what's Springbank is all about. So at Springbank, we start off with the malting.
Springbank does all the malting by themselves in the traditional way. Up in the next floor, we have the barley storage. And the barley comes down here into the steeping tanks. Then the steeping tanks are filled with fresh water, and the steeping process begins. After two days the barley has taken in enough water so the malting can begin. When the malting starts, they take out the water. And shovel out all the grain onto the floor, and spread it out evenly with wheelbarrows and rakes. And when they've spread it out, we have about five to six inches of malt on the floor.
And what's now very important is that you turn the malt very regularly. Because otherwise, you have mold and other bacteria growing. So in the summer you have to turn it more often, and the winter you don't have to turn it that often. But roughly you have to do it every four hours. And turning the malt takes about 15 minutes. So after the malt is nearly done the people will go round, open up the malt and have a look if it's already sugary and powder enough so it's ready for drying. And that's taking place in the next step. Another important ingredient is the peat.
The peat is used to dry the malt to get smoky flavored Whisky. And here we have a peat cut from the region of Common Tow. And that's quite normal peat. You can still see a few wood pieces that's cut from the heather. And here you can see that the peat is quite damp. So it's a bit wet. And that has a certain reason. Because if you have damp peat then you have more smoke rising, and you got a smoky malt for the Whisky. So here we are on the drying floor. And the malt is spread out at a depth of 30 centimeters. And here is smoke or hot air rising through the floor. And Springbank has three brands. First we have the Hazelburn, that is dried over hot air without any smoke.
And then you are left with an unpeated Whisky. Then the next brand is the Springbank, which has a peating time of six hours. And that gives it fairly lightly peat smoke. And the last one is the Longrow that is being smoked for 48 hours. And that gives you a heavily peated Scotch. Okay. You also have to produce the peat smoke. And peat smoke producing works like that. You just take some wood, put it into the kiln, fire it up with a bit of newspaper. And then you shovel fresh peat onto the fire, and that's about three loads of a wheelbarrow. And then the peat fire burns, and the peat gets distributed all over the drying floors that we saw on the earlier shot. After the malt has been dried, it gets stored here in these malt bins. And the malt is so hot that it is cooled down for two months.
And after that it's transported with these screw conveyors into the next room, where it is being milled. The first process in malt mill is the sieving, and that takes out any stones, any foreign objects. And after that there comes a magnet, and also checks for any metals inside the malt that could possibly be in there. So here we are at the second floor. And here is the scaling. So the malt comes from the top and fills up at 40 kilos. And when you have reached to 40 kilos, it falls down to the actual milling. So the last step here is the milling. And Springbank use a roller mill with three rolls. And after the milling, an employee takes a sample, puts it into this box here. Closes the box, shakes the box well, and then he inspects how much parts we have. At the top you should have 20% husks. Then you should have 70% middles in the middle.
And at the bottom, you should have about 10% flour. And that determines how good the grist, how the Scotch call it, is. That is now used in the fermentation process. So the next step is the mashing inside the mash tun. And here the malt is mixed with hot water, and the sugar and the starch is diluted into the water. And what comes out is called the wort. And the wort then goes into the fermentation process. The mash top here is made of cast iron. And what is very special is that it has no lid, and that is only done at a few distilleries in Scotland.
We're now at the washbacks. Springbank has six washbacks. And here the yeast is added, and the fermentation takes place. And that takes about four days, and you end up with a wash of about 4.5% to 5% alcohol by volume. What is very interesting about Springbank is they have peated and unpeated Whisky. So the people have to be careful when they fill washback, let's say full of Longrow with a mash that is very peated. Then they empty it and distill it. Then they have to steam it out and clean it out with water very carefully, so you don't end up in the next batch with a Hazelburn that would be contaminated with peat. So washing is done very carefully here at Springbank.
We're now at the distillation. And the Springbank Distillery has three brands, Longrow, Springbank, and Hazelburn. And they don't just differ because of their peatiness, but also the way they're being distilled. The Longrow is being distilled twice at the wash still and the low wine still. The Springbank Whisky is first distilled in the wash still, comes into the low wine still, and then in the last the wine still. It is a mixture between the first low wine still and the wash still. The Hazelburn is triple distilled, and that makes the Hazelburn a very light and very soft Whisky. Another specialty about the Springbank Distillery is that you have a direct heating.
You have flames below the wash still, and that heats up the still and the wash inside. And what is then very important is that you have a [inaudible 00:08:28] that goes round and mixes all the wash, so you don't get any burn bits at the bottom that could affect the taste of the Whisky. The next thing is that you have a normal condenser at the back of the wash still. The first low wine still has a warm top. And that is not being used very often in the business any more. So after the product has been distilled it ends up in the spirit receiver. And here at the filling station, you roll up the casks from your yard. Store them here. Then you fill them up with your spirit, put in a barrel. And then you roll them out and paint the content of cask on the barrel itself.
And the Springbank Distillery doesn't use any bar codes or any other computerized systems that label the cask automatically. They do it all by hand. So here we're at the warehouses. Springbank has eight warehouses, and six of them are like this warehouse. They are a flat stoned dunnages with a earth floor. And that gives you the perfect atmosphere of maturing Scotch Whisky. Eighty percent of all the spirit in the production goes into the Springbank brand, 10% into the Longrow brand, and 10% into the Hazelburn brand.
The cask variation differs from these American standard barrels, which used to hold Bourbon. To a bit bigger casksm like the Sherry casks here with 500 liters. Or on some other positions you have poured casks. So these different casks give you a good variation, and that ends up in the flavor of the Springbank Whiskys. So after the maturation, we have the bottling.
And all the single malts here at the Springbank Distillery are unchill filtered and do not have any coloring. So all the color comes from the wood. It's a natural product. They are being manually filled. And then they're being checked for impurities and packed on to pallets for international shipping, so you can enjoy the Springbank single malt everywhere on the globe. Thank you for watching. And if you find this video interesting, then please feel free to share this with your friends.