The regions of Scotch whisky production are a blend of historical circumstance, corporate construction and brand identity. It’s commonly agreed that there are six such regions, these being the Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, Islay, Islands and Campbelltown. Contradiction is rife – Islay is an Island, Speyside is the Highlands, and there are only three distilleries currently operating in Campbelltown. Many Highland distilleries are not even in the highlands, some Islay distilleries make Speyside style whiskies and there are peated Lowland whiskies. Yet despite wide debate, regionality is here to stay and offers convenient classifications to an ever-expanding array of distilleries and bottlings.
Campbelltown used to boast over 30 active distilleries, making it the largest whisky-producing region in the world during the 19th century. Local barley was plentiful, as was water and peat, and to top it all Campbelltown itself has a large harbour. However, quantity over quality was favoured, and with the rise of Speyside Campbelltown fell into decline. Only two of the original distilleries have survived, and now a new distillery, Glengyle, has joined Springbank and Glen Scotia.