Campbeltown, 90 km south-west of Glasgow, is the principal town on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula, and in the 19th century its 34 distilleries rivalled Speyside as a centre for the manufacture of whisky. The town’s prosperity, based on its easy sea links with Glasgow, diminished as railways enabled Highland distillers to distribute their whisky more readily. Several former distillery buildings are now bonded stores, and the Benmohr distillery has been adapted as the town’s bus station.
The town’s oldest distillery is Springbank, founded in 1828 by John and William Mitchell, sons of Archibald Mitchell, great-great-grandfather of the present owner, who had operated an illicit still on the site. Most of its present buildings, including its floor maltings and larch washbacks, date from 1889. Springbank is the oldest independent family-owned distillery in Scotland and all the processes of whisky manufacture, from malting to bottling are carried out on the site. Three single malts, Springbank, Longrow and Hazleburn, are produced by different processes, but all have the depth of flavour and slight salty tang characteristic of Campbeltown whiskies.
The same family opened the Glengyle distillery in 2004, and its first Kilkerran malts are expected to be released in 2012.
Campbeltown’s third working distillery is Glen Scotia, which closed in 1984 but was re-opened in the 1990s.
Sampling of malts and tours of the Springbank and Glengyle distilleries are arranged at the Tasting Room.