The Perfect Collection by Mr. Richard Gooding Digital Catalogue - Page 34



SPRINGBANK
1919 50 YEAR OLD
37.5% | 75cl
By Joe Wilson
Head of Auction Content
Whisky Auctioneer
I
f you had propositioned the rarity of this whisky
production, sale and consumption of alcohol in the
at the time when it was distilled, you would
U.S., partnered with the closure of the Drumlemble
have found few entertaining such a fanciful
coal mine and a loss of favour among blenders for the
notion. Although 1919 was approaching the end
traditional Campbeltown whisky character, created
of the Campbeltown distilling heyday, it was still
a perfect storm which saw off 17 of the region’s
very much a powerhouse region in its
distilleries in the 1920s.
prime. When Alfred Barnard visited
Campbeltown in 1885, he counted no
“A crown jewel Springbank, thankfully, was one of
fewer than 21 distilleries, all but one of
the two eventual survivors. While
for
any
whisky
which were in the town itself.
the distillery today reserves all of its
collector”
production for single malt, this was
Sadly this was not to last. Campbeltown
not always the case, and it is close to
had once thrived on its perfect cocktail
miraculous that a vintage like this
of proximity to coal, a good water source and fertile
was still warehoused by the time it was bottled in
barley farms, all within an 8 mile radius. Its coastal
1970. This whisky survived not only a long period
location on the Kintyre peninsula also served it
where the single malt category was an unfashionable
lavishly, allowing easy import of peat and barley
corner of whisky, but an era when its entire industry
from the Western Isles and Ireland, and an unrivalled
seemed to be collapsing around it, seeing more
proximity to export markets in the U.S. This latter
whisky dumped into Campbeltown Loch than
hand was to take back all that it had given. So strong
actually bottled. With a 10 year old age-statement
was the Campbeltown distilling industry that it was
this would have been impressive, at 50 years old this
able to survive the enforced closures of the first world
is unprecedented. At an elusive 24 bottles, this is a
war, but it was no match for Prohibition, a twocrown jewel for any whisky collector.
headed snake that eliminated both a key market, but
perhaps crucially, a supply of used bourbon casks.
The Volstead Act of 1920, which banned the
34





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