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Issue 91 - Rags to whiskies

Whisky Magazine Issue 91
October 2010

 

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Rags to whiskies

For the first time in 60 years a local man is at the helm of Springbank, Gavin D. Smith meets him

Whisky fashions come and go. Take rye in the States, for example. Once the American whiskey and only now starting to make a comeback after more than 70 years of neglect.

And in a number of export markets heavily peated Scotches sometimes seem to be the only game in town.

In general, whiskies from the former distilling ‘capital' and fishing port of Campbeltown, on the remote Kintyre peninsula in Argyllshire, have been resolutely out of fashion since the years between the two world wars, when one after another of Campbeltown's 30-plus distilleries fell prey to changes in taste, commercial pressures and a decline in quality and reputation.

Happily, however, one Campbeltown distillery has managed to ignore fashion and not only survive but develop something akin to cult status. That distillery is, of course, Springbank, and for the first time in 60 years it is now being managed by a local man.

The latest person to sit in the manager's chair at the historic Longrow premises is 36-year-old Gavin McLachlan, who took over the position in August from Stuart Robertson.“It's an honour and a privilege,” declares McLachlan. “I never thought it would happen. It's great to work with a brand like Springbank – I still have to pinch myself at times! And I think it's even better that I'm from Campbeltown; it feels even more of an achievement for me as this is my local distillery.” Remarkably, McLachlan only began his distilling career in 2002. After leaving school he worked for 1...

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