That’s probably the worst/best title yet. I’ll let you decide.
Springbank. From that Westerly outcrop that is Campbeltown. Once a thriving whisky community it now is the home to just three distilleries, Glengyle, Glen Scotia and of course Springbank.
Springbank and Glengyle distilleries are owned by J.A Mitchell and sons. A family run and very holistically run business. They do everything in house, from the malting of the barley to the bottling and obviously everything in between. You can even pay to experience the life of working in the distillery; working on the malting floors and turning the barley and seeing the process all the way through until its bottled at the other end. You’re not hanging around for 10 years whilst it matures I hasten to add, their dunnage warehouses have plenty of stock to keep them going for the time being. The course lasts five days and has been repeatedly reviewed as the ultimate whisky experience.
Springbank actually produces 3 different whiskies; we have Springbank which is their lightly peated whisky. There’s also Longrow which is more heavily peated, and also has an annual release of a red wine cask matured whisky too; if you see that on the shelves pick up a bottle because its interesting stuff. Then finally there is Hazelburn which is triple distilled for a lighter profile and created using only air-dried barley.
So why the Wild Cherry inspired title? Well if you hang around with or know of any whisky drinkers that have sampled a few drams in their time; chances are they will have come across Springbank and oftentimes their most vivid memory of it is ‘The Springbank Funk’.
The Funk is many things to many people. (This is starting to read like an in-depth review of 1970’s disco music) from a quick Google you will see people referring to it as smelling like weed, burnt plastic, decomposing vegetation, burning rubber, diesel on your hands, wild mushrooms and many more things besides. As we all know taste is very subjective and some people love this whisky and others can’t stand it. It polarises opinion but what cannot be called into question is the effort that goes in to making this whisky. They could outsource their bottling and their malting as many scottish distilleries do, it’s much cheaper and would give them a much larger profit margin. But that would put local people out of work and that is something that Springbank is very passionate not to do. It’s a hub in the community, it is the one distillery that’s kept going through the good and bad times and has kept the locals in work and looked after them through thick and thin. Kind of like the town elder keeping an eye on everyone. This sort of locally-focussed culture is something that comes through in the quality of the spirit it matures.
And what is that spirit you are reviewing I hear you cry! Why it’s Springbank 15 of course!
Nose: Fresh rubber tyres, still with those little rubber strands on, musty cellar smell, damp.
Palate: There’s the smoke! A rich heavy smoke from some seasoned firewood, rich oakyness on the palate too, slight zip of lemon zest in there as well.
Finish: Play that funky music Springbank! Like licking a bike tyre! a freshly varnished oak shelf lingering at the back there.
A Challenge, but a tasty rollercoaster of a challenge at that!
Bottle was purchased by myself for £50 at https://www.twrightwine.co.uk
All views are my own.
For thinkers. For drinkers. For fun.