Campbeltown

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Campbeltown Distillery, Campbeltown.

THIS Distillery was erected in the year 1815 by John Mactaggart, great grandfather of Mr. Daniel Mactaggart, the Procurator Fiscal of Campbeltown, and is an old-fashioned work according to the present ideas of distilling, but when it was first built it was a great advance on the “Smuggler’s Kettle.”

On passing through a pair of ancient gates and turning to the left, the visitor comes upon a veritable “smuggler’s work,” so ancient is its appearance and tumble-down look.

The quality of its brew is said to have inspired Burns to sing, when he visited his Mary at Campbeltown,

“Oh! Willie brew’d a peck o’ maut,An Rob a’ Allan cam’ to preen.Three blyther hearts, that lee long night,Ye wad na find in Christendie.We are na fou, we’re nae that fou,But just a drappie in our e’e;The cock may craw, the day may daw,And aye we’ll taste the Whasky O.”

The Distillery has undergone some changes since it was first erected, and some additions and machinery have since been added, nevertheless, nothing can take from the place its “old-world look” and ancient appearance.

The following is a very brief description of the place; there are two Barley Lofts, two Malt Barns and a medium sized Kiln, floored with the old English perforated tiles, and also an ancient Mill and Mill Stores. The Mash Tun (with revolving machinery) has a capacity of 4,000 gallons, it is 13 feet in diameter and 4½ feet deep. There is a steam engine of 14 horse power and a steam boiler 17½ feet long by 4½ in diameter, the five Washbacks hold 3,000 gallons each, and there are also two old “Sma Pot Stills,” each holding 1,400 and 960 gallons respectively; the three Receivers are of the following capacity: -Spirit Receiver, 360 gallons; Feints Receiver, 730 gallons; and Low-wines Receiver, 800 gallons; two of them sunk into the ground, the other raised up from the floor. The Spirit Store is a nice little building, and the Spirit Vat therein holds 1,351 gallons. The Coolers are in the open, and there is a large Morton’s Refrigerator. The four Warehouses contained, at the time of our visit, 1,300 casks of Whisky, some of them very aged; the water used in this Distillery is brought from the Crosshill Loch. Peat only is used in drying the malt, nearly all manual labour is used in this establishment, and they work on the old system.

The Whisky, which is Campbeltown Malt, is sold principally in Glasgow and Ayrshire, and the annual output is 60,000 gallons.

The works are about a quarter of a mile from the quay.

The Chief Excise Officer is Mr. Joseph Wilson.