It’s all the more remarkable then to think that at one point in time, Springbank was considered to be at the forefront of innovation and modernisation! In an article that Hedley G Wright, the current Chairman of Springbank, wrote for The Wine and Spirit Trade Record in 1963, he stated, “Springbank Distillery today has changed in several features from olden times. The company has been one of the pioneers of mechanisation within the distilling industry and the movement of barley and malt is now performed entirely by belts screws and elevators…The actual maltings have been rationalised so that there is only one set of floors and one kiln where formerly there had been two independent maltings…The green malt is dried on a pressure kiln of modern design and this item of equipment has been found to give a superior quality of malt and also effect considerable economy of time and fuel"
Then fermentation, “The actual washbacks are made of Scottish ‘boat-skin’ larch wood, for it is the belief of the proprietors that a steel wash back, although less expensive to install and maintain, gives a distinct taint to the final whisky, in an analogous manner to the distinctive tone given to a violin by the use of steel strings.”
Then distillation, “The wash is pumped into a large copper still which is heated by a coal fire underneath and also, simultaneously, by an internal steam coil through which superheated steam is passed. This method of heating a wash still is the traditional Campbeltown technique and has been used at Springbank for as long as records indicate; it is thought that no distilleries outside Campbeltown use this method.”
Happily, all our fears were unfounded. We had a good turnout of around 60 people - some whisky enthusiasts, some novices and some that didn’t even like whisky but had come along because Rhona asked them to and it was for a good cause - We even managed to convert one of our non-whisky drinking friends! (Yes, we do have some!) The joint tasting thing seemed to go okay too, at least after the first dram or two, and, between ticket sales and the raffle, we raised a fantastic £1640 for Macmillan. All in all, a pretty successful evening.
We had a pretty good tasting line up too thanks to Mark’s current employer, Cadenheads, and my previous employers, Springbank and Glenfarclas, who very generously donated all of the whisky for the event.
Huge thanks to everyone that provided whisky, raffle prizes and came along to support the event. Who knows, we may even do more joint tastings in the future!
Whisky Impressions is run by Kate Watt. Previously at Springbank and then Glenfarclas, I now design some whisky related stuff and write about it, and anything else that takes my fancy, on this blog.