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Great story about Springbanks owners

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Wierdo started a discussion

I've just finished this book

scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/…

It's a decent read but nothing amazing I'd say 6/10

But it has a few good stories one of which is about J & A Mitchell the owners of Springbank.

A while back the Scotch Whisky Association told the Mitchells that they were going to cease recognising Campbletown as a distinct scotch whisky region as it had only 2 active distilleries Springbank and Glen Scotia. Obviously this would be a blow for the region that used to be prior to railways the whisky capital of Scotland. They argued that they produced 3 different whiskies at Springbank but this fell on deaf ears.

They then argued that the Lowlands is classed as a distinct whisky producing region despite only having 3 distilleries. The SWA responded that 3 is a bigger number than 2 and that it was the minimum number of active distilleries in a region to be able to classify a area as a distinct whiskt region.

So the Mitchells brought the mothballed Glengyle and began producing Kilkerran so the SWA were forced to continue recognising Campbletown as a separate whisky region.

I must admit. I love stories like this as it appeals to my rebellious nature.

5 years ago

18 replies

@Victor
Victor replied

@Wierdo that's a nice story which I hope is true. That is a rather minor victory, albeit nice for the Springbank people. Why would anyone care about the history of whisky taxing districts anyway? That's just doubling down and immortalizing completely misguided emphasis away from the actual whisky and onto the regulating body's ability to dictate to its serfs. It is about the whisky, not about the government man bleeding taxes out of the producers, and telling everyone how they should think about and categorize the whisky. A really rebellious nature would have found a way to dismantle the Scotch Whisky Association and start over from scratch.

5 years ago 5Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Wierdo that was my understanding of the how and why the Glengyle distillery a.k.a. Kilkerran came about. A nice little story of someone giving the powers at be the finger laughing @Victor I think you'll find that most of us are in agreement with you regarding Scotch whisky regions and the nonsensical construct that it is. But go Campbeltown!

5 years ago 7Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

It's a win for all of us, since Glengyle produces excellent whisky. Well, the 12 year is excellent imho. I have a sample of the 8 year Cask Strength that I haven't tried yet, but I'd be shocked if I didn't like it. While I understand that regions are way overhyped, I understand why producers might want to keep them in place. Marketing whisky is all about the story, and while most of us Connosrs like to have a laugh about it, marketing stories work. Viking Warriors braving whirlpools to get to the "rugged Orkney Islands", only to face kilted Scotsman riding twelve-pointed stags into battle on the "picturesque Scottish Highlands", man that's a whisky I want to drink! Or a peerless whisky, produced at an "ultra modern distillery, fusing the old and the new", a whisky that embodies luxury, made with the finest bespoke everything and carrying a definite article before its name...man that is the good stuff!

5 years ago 5Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

I retold that story in November when my club had its big Kilkerran night, gobbling up all the collected works in my WIP collection. It's a good story, better than the Vikings and the devil dogs and everything else.

And Springbank is so identified as the Campbeltown whisky - I love how they fought in the most fruitful way possible to retain that flag to fly. And as noted, we now have Kilkerran whisky as a result! Great stuff.

5 years ago 5Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

I do agree that scotch whisky regions are a little silly. But at the same time coming from a brewery town that used to have over 100 working breweries to just a handful now I appreciate how the people of Burton on Trent identify as inhabitants of a brewery town even though our main industry now is probably warehousing and logistics. I imagine the people of Campbletown feel the same about their history. Once being the whisky capital of Scotland to being told you're no longer going to be recognised as a region and will just be lumped into the catch all 'Highland' region.

That must feel like being stripped of your medals. And as @OdysseusUnbound said the whisky region is always backwards focussed so history does matter. I like the fact that the Mitchells took the decision to stop that happening at cost to themselves. It would have been easier and cheaper for them to just increase production at Springbank if they wanted to produce more whisky rather than reopening an old distillery.

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

On a barely related side topic, what's up with whisky awards that lump Campbeltown in with the Lowlands?

I know, regions are meaningless and yada yada, but there definitely are traditional styles that the regions are known for, and I would never confuse a stereotypical Campbeltowner for a stereotypical Lowlander.

Maybe it's kinda like the mishmash table at a wedding where you stick all the oddballs who can't fill a table of their own?

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

@paddockjudge you mean THE good stuff. It’s impossible to emphasize that definite article too strongly.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@OdysseusUnbound, my kids know all too well about THE good stuff.

On Connosr we often refer to open bottles and how they change for better or for worse. Going back about seven years in time would find three teenagers living under my roof and numerous open bottles evolving on the shelves of my cabinet. This was not a good mix. I found myself second guessing as to where some of these experimental bottles had been moved. They moved out, but the kids stayed.

One Friday evening I called a family meeting at dinner time (sure to give me access to some of the hungry brood) and went over a few ground rules concerning alcohol. Knowing ahead of time the whisky had disappeared on its own, I made it clear that nothing on the shelves was to disappear or take on water to restore fill levels. Earlier in the day I had picked up a six pack of Century 15/25 whisky, $28 per bottle. A bright red box housed each bottle. I explained to my shocked, bewildered, and completely innocent children that under no circumstances was any of The Whisky Resource Centre inventory to be touched, moved, or adjusted...but in the case of an emergency only the red boxes could be used to address the crisis.

I felt good about the meeting and was confident THE good stuff was now safe. On Sunday I was playing whisky and moved the front row of red boxes to reposition some bottles...there was no back row. Some time between Friday evening and Sunday morning there had been three emergencies.

This particular batch of 15/25 was excellent. In hind sight, it was some of The good stuff. At $28/bottle, I can't complain. It could have been a lot worse.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge That was a dangerous play, high risk, given that (THE) Macallan CS also comes in a red box...

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Nozinan, it was a pseudo sacrifice, and to this day, a brilliant offering resulting in a mate.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge I was talking about telling your kids that they could take bottles in red boxes...

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge You mean 5 years ago you passed of a bottle of Century 15/25 as Macallan CS and I fell for it?

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge we've both drunk from that bottle.

Corn whisky never tasted so good...

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

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