With an ever changing and growing whisky list the bar at the Ardshiel offers the whisky enthusiast or the novice a real treat. With over 700 malts to choose from many which are rare and exclusive it attracts visitors from far and wide. Previous winners of the Wee Dram Whisky Bar of the Year and Scottish Field Whisky Bar of the Year.
We also offer real ales, craft beers, wines and a growing selection of gins.
The History of Whisky in Campbeltown
The history of whisky in Campeltown dates back to the 1800’s. The coastal town, located on the Kintyre Peninsula, is one of five areas in Scotland categorised as a distinct malt whisky producing region and home to the Campbeltown Single Malts. Whisky historian Alfred Barnard visited Campbeltown, known by some as ‘the whisky capital of the world’ in 1885 due to hearing of the astonishing growth of whisky in the area from the early 19th century. Barnard conducted a tour of 21 distilleries, the success of which inspired the publication of his book entitled The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. Today three active distilleries remain in Campbeltown: Glen Scotia, Glengyle and Springbank.
The following timeline marks the key dates in the development of the whisky industry in Campbeltown:
- 1591 – The first written reference to whisky in the area
- 1700 – The Earl of Argyll, Chief of the Campbells gives Campbeltown its name
- 1823 – The legalisation of distilling
- 1828 – Springbank distillery is founded by Archibald Mitchell
- 1832 – The founding of Glen Scotia
- 1885 – 21 active distilleries in the area
- 1920 – The majority of distilleries begin closing down operation
- 1934 – Springbank and Glen Scotia continue production
- 2004 – Glengyle distillery re-opens
A number of factors contributed to a slowing of whisky production by the early 1900’s, to include the First World War, lack of manpower and industrial consolidation. By 1934 Springbank and Glen Scotia distilleries were the remaining whisky producers in the area. However, in 2004 Glengyle distillery re-opened, launching its Kilkerran brand in 2009. Campbeltown’s whisky production is an integral part of the town producing 5 malts whiskies from its 3 remaining active distilleries. These malts are characterized by a number of styles, with aromas of peat, smoke, toffee and vanilla. Springbank distillery remains unique in whisky production across Scotland due to its continued use of traditional distilling methods to make one of its signature brands, Longrow whisky.