Whisky Regions
Campbeltown
Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula was once the heart of Scotch whisky production, even earning itself the title of ‘whisky capital of the world’. However, the region’s fortunes have faded in recent years and from a peak of 30 active distilleries, there are now just three in operation. However, it remains prominent enough to be one of the five most recognised Scotch whisky regions.
Here’s everything you need to know about Campbeltown whisky.
History

Campbeltown’s historic place in the whisky world was helped by its location, with the barley fields of Kintyre, peat bogs to supply peat for malting, water from Crosshill Loch and coal from Drumlemble mine to fuel the stills. With Campbeltown being a bustling sea port at the time, it was easy for distilleries to ship their produce over to Glasgow to be sent around the world.

This meant that it was a major producer of Scotch in the 1800s, but the 20th Century brought a major downturn with the impact of Prohibition in America, the World Wars and the Great Depression meaning that no less than 17 distilleries in Campbeltown closed down in the 1920’s alone.

Another major reason for the region’s fall from grace was that it became a victim of its own success. With demand outstripping supply, many distilleries were tempted to let quality standards drop, badly damaging both their own reputation and that of Campbeltown as a whole. Regions like Speyside and the Highlands overtook them and the area has never quite recovered.

Campbeltown Whiskies

Whiskies from Campbeltown are known to be robust and smoky with maritime notes to go with their sea-bound heritage. Flavours include dried fruit, vanilla, toffee, and brine while the single malts generally have a dry and pungent body.

The remaining distilleries in Campbeltown are:
Springbank Distillery - The oldest remaining distillery in Campbeltown, Springbank was founded in 1828 on the site of an illegal still owned by Archibald Mitchell. It has stayed in the family ever since and is now run by his great, great, great grandson and this traditional approach can be seen in the production methods used. Indeed, Springbank is the only Scottish distillery to perform every step in the whisky making process itself, from malting the barley to bottling the finished product. The whiskies are aged primarily in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and its three main variants are Springbank Single Malt, Longrow Single Malt and Hazelburn Single Malt.
Glengyle Distillery - Linked with Springbank Distillery since its origins, Glengyle was founded in 1872 by William Mitchell after an argument with his brother John meant that he left Springbank. Like many distilleries in Campbeltown, Glengyle shut down during the dark years of the 1920s downturn and it spent time as a rifle range. However, the Mitchell family weren’t done with it and it was bought in 2000 by the owner of Springbank to be replanned and reopened, which happened in 2004. The whisky produced at Glengyle is branded as Kilkerran.
Glen Scotia Distillery - Founded in 1832 as Scotia Distillery by Stewart & Galbraith Co, Glen Scotia is one of the few distilleries to have survived the 20th Century downturn in Campbeltown and today still uses the original mashtun, stillroom and dunnage warehouse. However, it was refurbished in 2014, increasing its capacity and adding a visitor’s centre.
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