For most whisky drinkers – dare I say, enthusiasts – distilleries fall into one of three categories: There is the “well known” category, where names like Glenmorangie, Lagavulin, Macallan, Glenfarclas, Talisker, etc all reside. Their whiskies are widely available; the brands are well known; they have visitor centres; and chances are, you may already have set foot in their stillhouse.
At the other end of the scale, you have the “unknown” category. These are the distilleries that don’t have any official releases; the ones that don’t have visitor centres and are closed to the public. Their spirit goes straight into the blends and you’ll struggle to find any detailed information about them. Most readers may not even have heard of them! I refer to the likes of Allt-a’Bhainne, Miltonduff, Inchgower, and so on.
The third category is the more interesting one, and I’ll tag it with the label “enigmatic”. And surely, there is no more enigmatic distillery than Springbank. Independent, family owned, a Campbeltown distillery no less, its whiskies are hard to come by; the releases are few and far between; and yet – and it’s a big yet – hardcore whisky lovers adore it. Fans speak of Springbank with a reverence and dedication reserved for very few distilleries, and for those who’ve not discovered the distillery or been enchanted by its spirit, it’s all a bit of a mystery.