Springbank Society Newsletter June/July 2013 – Scotch Whisky News

Springbank Society Newsletter

June 2013

Dear Society Members,

I am very excited to be taking on the role of looking after you all. I know what a great job Janet has done over the past few years with the Society and understand how popular she is with a lot of you. I am quite nervous to be taking over but Janet has assured me that you will all treat me well! I look forward speaking to and meeting many of you in the future and hope that we can begin to build a good relationship.

Things have been quite hectic here the past couple of months but I have finally got round to writing up all the latest news for you! I hope that you enjoy reading it….it is quite long but there is a lot to report!


Society Tasting

We kick started the Open Day in style this year with events beginning a day early. The Society Tasting took place on the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd of May in the Tasting Room at Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop and was very well attended (not that surprising as there was the offer of free whisky!!) The idea was to taste four different cask samples and the one that received the highest score would be picked for the next Society bottling.

The first whisky tasted was a Hazelburn 10 year old Fresh Cognac Butt which was followed by a Springbank 10 year old Fresh Sherry Butt. Both seemed to go down well and votes out of 10 were taken before moving onto the next two whiskies. The third sample we tried was a Springbank 10 year old Fresh Port Hogshead and the final was a Longrow 8 year old Refill Sherry Butt.

After all four had been tasted, the task of counting the votes was left to me (with a lot of pressure to make sure my counting was up to scratch) and the clear winner was

………………………………………………….*drumroll please*………………………………………………….

The Springbank 10 year old Fresh Port Hogshead (which will be 11 years old when bottled)

We look forward to bottling this cask for you in the Autumn. At the tasting we also had a discussion on how many Society bottlings you would like to see each year. We currently offer 1 or 2 throughout the year but are interested in finding out if there is demand for more. One gent suggested a special Christmas Society bottling which could be a possibility. I would definitely love to have all your opinions on this or any other suggestions for special bottlings you may like to see.

The Kiln Dinner

This year we held the exclusive Kiln Dinner at the distillery the evening before the Open Day (Wednesday 22nd of May). We had 20 guests in total who were joined by Frank and Gavin inside the Kiln for dinner.

Staff from all the different departments of the company were present to mingle and help serve during the night and all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The evening began with Pop leading the guests to Warehouse 3 where they tasted a few cask samples and were given the chance to chose what whisky would be the one bottled for them to take home as a reminder of the special occasion. The clear favourite was the Longrow Madeira 14 year old which was given to Bottling Hall manager, Callum, to race over and fill 20 bottles while the guests settled down to their meal.

Guests enjoyed canapés, champagne and Springbank 21 year old in the Bin Room before climbing the steep staircase to the Kiln (we did install a more sturdy, wooden staircase rather than the normal ‘ladder’ for the evening which was a much safer option for guests going up and down after a dram or two!)

Donald was chef extraordinaire for the evening and very calmly prepared a scrumptious 3 course meal for the guests which received glowing reports from all attendees.

After the meal the guests finished the evening in the Still House where they enjoyed cheese and oatcakes with coffee (or whisky in most cases!) and were presented with their special bottle by Frank and Gavin.

A few photos from the evening have been uploaded to the Springbank Distillers Facebook page so if any of you have access to it then please go and have a look. The Kiln looked fantastic, Neil and Donald did a spectacular job of transforming the place into a candle-lit haven!

We have had some great feedback from the dinner and all guests appear to have really enjoyed themselves. On the Springbank Distillers Facebook page one guest wrote:

“The Kiln Dinner was Amazing!! I would recommend this exclusive evening to anyone. Well done to all the staff for their organisation and attention to detail. Gold Stars for getting that beautiful food up into the Kiln. Very Impressed.”

Another guest e-mailed saying:

“The Kiln Dinner was excellent and it’s good to know that we were part of such a unique experience.”

Springbank Open Day

Despite the cold weather, it was another successful year at the Open Day. Unfortunately we were not blessed with glorious weather like in previous years but luckily there was no shortage of good whisky to keep everyone warm! Janet has promised to show me the “no rain” dance for next year (she usually performs it religiously every day in the lead up).

This year, it was my first year at organising the Open Day after years of Janet doing a fantastic job. It was a bit scary but luckily Janet was more than helpful with the MANY questions I had to ask in the lead up to it and also helped to calm my nerves on the day! Catrona from the Bottling Hall and Lea from the Distillery also helped with plans in the lead up to the day. Both have fantastic imaginations and were a great help to me.

The day kicked off at 11am with Frank, once again, welcoming everyone to the distillery and thanking everyone for coming to spend the day with us.

This year all masterclasses were held in the Malt Barns which helped keep things central at the distillery. Frank and Gavin were first up to share their knowledge with our visitors at their 11.30am Masterclass. They tasted a range of upcoming Springbank samples which included the Longrow Shiraz and a Springbank Local Barley which proved to be a great way to start the day!

Jenny was next up at 13.15pm with her Glengyle Masterclass and was assisted by George during the hour. As well as tasting the two new Kilkerran WIP 5’s which were only released the day of the Open Day, they also got to taste some New Make Spirit from Glengyle and the Limited Edition Rum cask due for release next year for the 10th anniversary of Glengyle.

Grant and Mark were next with their Cadenhead Masterclass where the crowd were treated to some special samples including Rosebank 21 year old and Dallas Dhu 1978. This went down so well that some bottles were sold straight from the cask after the Masterclass.

Ranald’s Springbank Masterclass was the finale of the day and, for those still standing at this point, they enjoyed tasting the Hazelburn Rundlets & Kilderkins which will be released early next year as well as the 2014 release of the Springbank 21 year old.

During the day we were joined by a range of local craft stalls including: Anne Stewart Knitwear, Eric Norman Wood Turner, Janette Hamiltion, Kintyre Candles, Kintyre Design, Kintyre Lampwork, Kintyre Preserves, Sian Jewellery, The Bathtime Cafe and Wee Toon Carver as well as local food producers Campbeltown Kitchen, First Milk (Mull of Kintyre Cheddar), Ifferdale Lamb & Kintyre Smokehouse. Because of the cold and windy weather, most of the stalls had to be moved indoors to the opening of the bottling hall this year to prevent their products from blowing away onto the streets of Campbeltown!

Campbeltown Grammar School were also there with a fundraising stall and the Ice Cream van came along for a while but as it was so cold there weren’t many people looking for ice cream on the day! Campbeltown Camera Club were present again this year with their fantastic photography display and sale of work which was very successful and attracted a lot of attention throughout the day.

We were delighted to be joined by Fyne Ales again this year who brewed a special collaboration ale called ‘FyneBank’ especially for the occasion. The ale was made using Springbank peated barley and sold well on the day – it was very tasty! They were located in the Marquee again along with our own Spirit/Whisky Bar and cask filling station. Julie and Lisa did a great job of manning the bar during the day and were helped out in the evening by Stuart and Lindsey. The Bottling Hall staff took it in turns to fill the special Open Day bottles and when they were not busy with this, gave visitors tours of the bottling plant which was set up with displays of every bottling that has come out of the distillery in previous years.

Melanie was positioned inside Warehouse 15 again this year and was assisted throughout the day by Peter Greve from our German distributor Hanseatische (who is also a Society member). The bar proved to be a very popular place to congregate for some warmth and the 5 drams for £5 was definitely a hit with the visitors!

Linda and Catherine were pouring free drams this year including the two Open Day bottles and both the new Kilkerran WIP 5’s – Bourbon and Sherry Wood which went down very well.

The girls from J&A office were on ticket sales and were joined by Janet who was selling the tokens to be exchanged for the Open Day bottles. This year the bottles were a Hazelburn 10 year old Fresh Bourbon and a Springbank 9 year old Gaja Barolo.

During the day the Brass Band and local fiddler Frank Rochford both came along to entertain the crowd with their talented musical skills and both put on excellent performances.

Jim was on hand, as always, to guide groups round Springbank Distillery each hour and George also took a couple of groups up to Glengyle Distillery during the day.

This year we introduced a ‘Tug o war’ competition during the day where Springbank staff members took on a team of visitors for a ‘best of 3’ challenge. First up were the Springbank lads to showcase their strength. Unfortunately they did not live up to their overconfident

word and were quite simply shocking! The visitors won the first two games hands down and most of the Springbank team were left grovelling on the ground! The girls were next up and unfortunately there were no lady visitors willing to put themselves up to the challenge. We decided the most ‘fair’ way to do it was have 6 men against 12 girls!! The first round was brilliant with the girls managing to make most of the men lose their footing but the next two rounds proved too much for the girls and the men triumphed (although we still claim they cheated as an extra man was added at the last hurdle!!!)

After the masterclasses were over and the stalls began to tidy away for the day, the crowds were kept entertained by Kintyre Schools Pipe Band who were impressive as always followed by Footnotes dancers who despite being freezing, put on a very entertaining show for us. The evening music was provided by Lochgilphead based band ‘Cabin Fever’ who provided us with great sounds to keep us going through the night.

Donald and his trusty helpers were there with the BBQ again this year, offering up some delicious burgers to help soak up some of the alcohol!

This year we were delighted to welcome whisky comedian Alan Anderson to the Open Day with his show “Whisky for Dafties” which was performed in the Malt Barns in the evening.

Alan has travelled round the world entertaining the crowds wherever he goes with his ‘loving, irreverent look’ at the world of whisky. The audience got to enjoy a few drams as the show went on and audience participation is a must – particularly humorous after the participants have had a few drams to let their hair down and have to get up and perform some dance moves! There have been great reports from attendees and it proved to be a good addition to the evening events.

A big thank you is in order for all staff who worked extremely hard to make the day a success and also thank you to all of you that managed to make it this year and hope that you all enjoyed yourselves.

The date for next year’s event will be Thursday 22nd of May – put it in the diaries now before you forget!!

Society Golf Competition

Unfortunately I did not attend the golf competition the next day but Janet has kindly supplied a little report of the day especially for you all:

The day of the golf competition arrived at last, with lots of sunshine and no wind. Of course I had been doing the “no rain” dance for weeks to guarantee good weather.

We had been allocated ten tee off times for the competition and thankfully had managed to fill all the spaces. Everyone was there nice and early, with lots of competitors having breakfast rolls and coffee in the clubhouse before setting off.

We were playing teams of four “better ball” competition (when I say “we” I’m not including myself – I was far too busy making sure everything was set up for the prize giving later).

Maybe next year!!!

The weather was beautiful throughout the competition and when the competitors started to arrive back at the club house there were lots of smiley faces and laughter – a good time had by all. Those of us who were having lunch adjourned to the dining room where we had an excellent selection of food provided by Iain McLean and his staff.

The prize giving followed lunch with the winning team of Robert McCallum, John McCallum, Archie McCallum and Neil McCallum scoring an excellent net 59, second were Iain McGougan, Soren Hundeball, Owen Morgan and Allan McIlroy with a net 61 (better inward half) and also with a net 61, taking third place were Kjelle Andersson, Goran Ceder, Charles McLellan and Ailsa de Haas.

The prize for the gents’ Longest drive was won by Iain McGougan and for the ladies Ailsa de Haas, nearest the pin at the 4th went to Kjelle Andersson for the men and Margaret Robertson for the ladies.

Ranald Watson thanked the golf course staff, Ken Campbell’s staff and Iain McLean’s staff for helping to make our competition a success and also the Society Members, Golf Club Members and visitors for taking part.

We hope that everyone will come and support us again next year and hopefully we can increase the numbers who take part.

See you all next year!

Regards, Janet.


The distillery is in full swing production at the moment and we have all thoroughly enjoyed welcoming a new batch of Whisky School students to the distillery for the past 7 weeks. We are currently into week 8 now – it is hard to believe how fast the time is going! We have enjoyed the company of students from all over the world once again this year and all students have performed very well during their week, proved each Friday as everyone has passed their exam with flying colours! This year we have also had some 6th year Campbeltown Grammar School students in doing the course and all have had a great time, gaining a good insight into the magic of whisky making!

The Springbank Sales Team are busy bees as ever and have been out and about mainly in the UK this Summer at events and doing tastings in different locations.


So far this year we have been busier than ever with visitors to the distillery and all tour guides have been kept very busy. Jim and George are the main men for the tours at the moment with Grant and myself helping out when needed. Siobhan who recently started in the Whisky Shop is keen to start doing tours too and was recently lucky enough to undertake a week of the Whisky School to increase her knowledge of the process which will definitely help when showing visitors around the distillery.


We are delighted to announce that the ever popular Campbeltown Loch 21 year old has just been released and is now available for purchase. The blend contains 60% malt whisky and 40% grain whisky. It was matured in a mixture of Sherry and Bourbon casks and is bottled at 46% ABV. There are 6,000 bottles available for worldwide distribution. The retail price is £66.00 and each of you will receive your 10% discount on this bottle. The discount is strictly limited to 1 bottle each as there aren’t that many bottles to go round! If you would like to order this you can e-mail me or phone me on 01586 55 2009 to arrange.

We have also recently finished bottling the 2013 release of Longrow 18 year old. The information is much the same as previous bottlings, using the same casks and bottled at 46% ABV with only 4,500 bottles being produced. The cost of this is £84.50 and again you will receive your 10% discount on this.


Campbeltown Grammar School are currently in the process of raising funds for a volunteering trip to Gambia in February 2014. The school are working closely with Argyll based charity Firstaid4Gambia to help in a community school in Kalagi.

The fundraising group have been kept very busy by attending lots of local events to help raise funds as well as two of the teachers taking part in the Mull of Kintyre 10K run last month and in the next few months they have some other exciting challenges coming up.

Another of their fundraising pushes is to ‘flock’ unsuspecting gardens with big, bright flamingos which can be bought as a gift for birthdays or other occasions for a very good price! It is proving to be a great idea and has been extremely well received by everyone, especially those with kids!

Springbank are also doing their bit to help raise funds for the cause. We are drawing 2 bottles of the oldest whisky we have in the warehouse (24 years, 3 months and 9 day year old Springbank). 1 of the bottles will be auctioned off and the other is going down to the Ardshiel Hotel where drams will be available – all proceeds from both going to the Grammar School. Watch this space for more information regarding the auction and if you are in Campbeltown soon, pop down to the Ardshiel for a dram of this special whisky!


It is getting easier and easier for you to come and visit us here in Campbeltown so there are no excuses! From the 23rd of May until 28th September, Calmac started a three year pilot ferry service which runs from Ardrossan to Campbeltown. The service is currently running three times per week during this time with an additional stop at Arran on a Saturday.

In addition to this there is now a Sunday flight coming in and out of Campbeltown. This was started on the 16th of June and will run until the 29th of September.

Both of these are proving to be a welcome boost to the tourism industry already and there is certainly a good buzz within the local community about both new services. It is certainly a slight novelty being able to get a ferry (with a bar!!) rather than the bus on every journey to Glasgow now!

Well that is all for just now. Hopefully I haven’t bored many of you too much – it does seem like a very long newsletter! I look forward to speaking to you all in the future.



To join the Springbank Society please contact them at society@springbankwhisky.com

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