Springbank Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Scotch Whisky H-Z, Springbank

Springbank CV 46%

Tasted: Dec 2011

The nose opens with some perfumed rose petal notes – proof of its youthfulness. There is some nascent honey, flecked with salt. A bit light and effete with a touch of earthy, dry peat and some oils. With time there is a minor sherried, tobacco leaf intimation. I would assume that there is a very, very small proportion of older spirit in this as it really is Springbank in a nappy!

The palate is light and briefly sugary sweet before some coastal and earthy peat notes put in an appearance. Those sugars attempt to temper the rawness of the spirit, but to be honest the spirit really hasn’t got much character apart from that rawness and confirms my suspicions that there isn’t a great deal of older spirit at work here. Reasonable length with the salinity creeping in leaving a light, fish oil and salty mouth coating.

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Tasted: Apr 2002

A fresh aromatic nose with a slight oilness and hints of malt, salt and peat. On the palate it has an initial sweetness which builds into a powerfully fruity middle accented with a whiff of sea air. Great depth with hints of malt and peat and a long smooth finish.

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Tasted: May 2009

A crisp and coastal influenced nose. Light, yet rich honeyed apricot and orange fruit leads into hints of earthy peat, mocha, bog myrtle and a lovely firm barley nuance along with a slightly perfumed top note.

Quite an elegant palate. Slightly spicy with crisp barley and hints of rich fruit and honey. The mid palate is awash with the Campbeltown salts and it leaves behind a touch of light peat and rubber.

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: April 2012

A very oily nose. Lightly perfumed orange mingles with old straw, brine and fish oils. Pleasantly deep with hints of crystalised violet and a suggestion of earthy-peat. The oak adds a bit of tannin and vanilla custard, but it’s still very oily.

The palate is quite oily and briny, full of apricot and citrus bathed in fish oils. Some old wood and a sort of dirty-earthy-coffee-peat note appears on the middle along with a mouth watering coastalness. It does have a brief sweet barley moment before the oak bitters. It’s an ok bottling, but is does have a pervasive, although not overly unpleasant murky-peatiness.

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Quite fresh and briny with oodles of milk chocolaty sherry oak, kippers, crystallised citrus, liquorice and malt. Broad and full, gently mature with late notes of rubber and tar.

Palate: Soft and broad, leading off with the clean sherry wood spices and dried fruit, followed by sweet and spicy orange/ tangerine fruit. Chunky and malty with a distinct woody intensity. The intense coastal notes balance the wood impeccably.

Finish: very long with plenty of fishy, briny-peat and soft grained tannins. Late parma violet note.

Conclusion: A lovely, woody malt, which could only come from one particular distillery! [tasted blind]

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Mar 2017

A full and malty nose with fish, apricot, rustic tannins and a very light peat note. Hints of orange, pepper, vanilla and bracing coastal notes balance with oily, density of the spirit.

A little lighter and creamier on the palate with hints of malt, fish oils, earth, salt and gritty oak tannins. Full and salty middle with a subtle spicy bite. Long and remaining spicy and peppery with an almost austere, mouth-watering saltiness, but the underpinning malt balances.


Springbank 10 year old 46%

Bottling Code: 13/143

Re-Tasted: July 2013

An intense and briny nose with oily, fishy fruit. Robust barley with a touch of peat and a hint of sherrywood. Quite aromatic with a late floral note developing along with a touch of vanilla. Even though it is quite robust it still carries a youthful edge.

Softly oiled with plenty of fleshy apricot and light citrus. Big barley notes with hints of fish and peat. The sherrywood arrives on the middle with a touch of tannin and it finishes with a salty, youthful spirit note. A little drying but pleasantly oily. All in all a pretty good bottling of 10 year old spirit.

Springbank 10 year old 46%

Nose: Dense an oily. In fact very oily aromas of lightly salted, fleshy apricot and sweet oak vanillins. Beautifully balanced with hints of tarred rope, violets, fish oils and salted nuts.

Palate: Oily and full with no shortage of coastal infused sugar coated barley, apricot, barley, vanilla and light coffee. Lovely building light peat, fish oils and violet notes.

Finish: Good length with a tart citrus and sea salt finish.

Conclusion: Springbank 10? If so it’s getting better and better! (tasted blind)

Springbank 10 year old ‘Rundlets & Kilderkins’ 49.4%


Tasted: Mar 2012

Whoa this is a monstrous nose. Deep aromas of chocolatey sherry with heavy overtones of dark Latakia tobacco, warm toffee, fish oil andparmaviolets. With time the aromas become rather manurey and earthy with a damp peat character becoming prevelent. Quite oily and malty with moist treacle topped almond fruitcake, but the salty/ briny character gives the aromas a distinct edginess. Stunningly aromatic and complex with late brittle spices and perfumed orange notes.

The palate opens with a density of moist, date and walnut fruitcake, dark honeyed malt, lazy treacle coated dried fruit andparmaviolets. I’ve not come across such a lazy nose in awhile – It really makes you do the work! There is a lovely brightness and intensity to the fruit, which covers the youthful cereal note. Seriously chlorinated peat, alcohol and wood tannins dry the mid palate but this is countered to some extent by the thick, dark, molasses-like malt. Fairly short due to the combination of brine, alcohol and tannin but the finish is very smoky with the Latakia tobacco in full flow. This is a serious sherry hit, cranked up to 11.

With water the fish oils aromas come out to play as does some slightly brittle but sugared barley, salty fruit and peat smoke. The sherry is less intense now and creates a backdrop for the other aromas. On the palate it is even more languid, and the wood is more splintery and more in control (if that’s possible!) Liquorice coated fleshy plum, ginger and buckets of bitter 90% cocoa chocolate. The finish is longer now but woodier, which isn’t a surprise!

Springbank 1997 (10 year old) Batch 1 55.2%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: July 2007

Crisp and aromatic aromas of creamy/ oily vanilla, smoky peat, orange, apricot, and toasty oats. Quite coastal (as expected) and incredibly complex with hints of coffee, walnuts and earth. On the palate Batch 1 is rich, crisp yet oily. Tangy orange and apricot conserve mingle with sweet oak, a touch of peat and a mere suggestion of sherry. Very expressive, lovely balance and mouth filling.

A drop of water brings out the gorgeous earthy fruit on the nose along with its inherent oiliness. This is loads better than the standard 10 year old! On the palate it brings it all together emphasizing the delicate earthy-peat. In a way it kind of reminds me of Longrow. It finishes with a medicinal menthol note. This is very, very good!

Springbank Local Barley 10 year old 57.3%

Tasted: Dec 2017

Quite a citric nose with crunchy, sweet barley, white fruit, tangerine, clementine, salt, malt along with a subtle menthol note. That really is fruity (by Springbank standards) with a pulped fruit character, which is balanced by the classic gritty earthiness. With time hints of fisherman’s friends and cod liver oil appear.

The palate opens with dry barley and vanilla. Slightly oily/ waxy tangerine, apricot and apple follow. It continues to evolve and subtle earthy peat notes appear on the middle along with malt and treacle. Intense and dry finish with lingering menthol and malt.

Water emphasises the citrus and barley, but also the sweetness of the fruit. The palate is softer with a little more vanilla and again the fruit is sweeter. The purity of the barley is superb too and the finish is long and juicy with lingering tangerine. clementine and earth.

Springbank 1997 (11 year old) ‘Madeira Wood Expression’ 55.1%

Dist: June 1997 Btl: Jan 2009/ Tasted: July 2009

As it spent its entire life maturing in fresh Madeira casks it not surprising that the nose open with a huge,  spicy nose, with a Demerara sugar coated winey/ biscuity intensity. The spirit begins to work its way through with a fishy, coastal, and the typical distillery honeyed character. There’s quite a bit of earthy-peat and although brash the sweetness is balanced wonderfully by the saltiness and high alcohol.

The palate follows the nose, beginning with the shortcake, spicy-demerara cask notes. The peat really builds on the mid palate with hints of smoke, cod liver oil, a touch of camphor and lots of alcohol. Dry, salty finish with sweet Madeira reappearing along with gentle coffee and spice notes on the finish.

Water brings out a leafy note on the nose (almost reminiscent of the leafy character of some sherry casks). Wonderfully harmonious with hints of pure honeycomb. On the palate it becomes more integrated, more of the mature wood notes are detectable along with crumbly chocolaty spices and dunnage floors. Quite butch even with water!

Springbank 1989 (12 year old) ‘Rum Wood Expression’ 54.6%

Dist: 1989 Btl: Apr 2002/ Tasted: Aug 2002

A tangy nose of citrus fruit, vanilla, linseed oil along with hints of demarara sugar, coffee and the Campbeltown salts.

The palate is like an explosion – soft and fruity one minute, yet intense and coastally the next with the demarara rum coming through on the finish! Amazing length with a salty twang at the death. Water emphasises the oiliness and demerara sweetness on the nose.

Springbank 1991 (12 year old) ‘Bourbon Wood Expression’ 58.5%

Dist: Dec 1991 Btl Feb 2004/ Tasted: Mar 2004

A deep, complex fruity nose. The pure, unfettered marriage of raw springbank, gorgeously sweet hoggies and the bracing campbeltown air is a serious joy. The spirit revels in its oily, salty and smoky intensity. A touch of water it magically realeses the oak from the spirits grasp, to reveal spice, banana, coconut, crème brulee. Superb, gently smoked finish.

Springbank 1997 (12 year old) ‘Claret Wood Expression’ 54.4%

9 years in Re-Fill American oak and a further 3 years in fresh Claret

Dist: May 1997 Btl: Feb 2010/ Tasted: Apr 2010

The nose opens with a seriously fishy and briny note, followed by redcurrant, earth, mocha, with the fruit moving into a herbal territory, and becoming more overt as time passes. However the briny note sticks around to offer some sort of balance. The claret notes finally move into a perfumed spectrum and heavy wood notes appear. Although it sounds heavy on the cask finish, it does retain a balance.

Light and oily on the palate. In a reversal of the nose the Claret kicks off with earthy redcurrant, soft resiny wood (pine?) and more than a soupcon of tannin. The alcohol builds and hits the middle with an intensity of briny, apricot and yellow fruit. It’s this intensity that stops the Claret cask from totally dominating. And by now it is adding some delightful clove and soft spice accents. The finish is pretty dry and a touch woody.

Some water emphasises the Claret on the nose. The fruit has a more perfumed/ floral edge and there is now the barest hint of some creamy Bourbon. On the palate it is softer, sweeter and more winey, but like the nose a creamy bourbon note comes out to play. The earthy spices on the middle really come into play as the alcohol is toned down and the red fruit lazily drifts back, before finishing with the brine and a suggestion (finally!) of peat. All in all very enjoyable.

Springbank 2003 (12 year old) Burgundy Wood 53.5%

First Fill Burgundy barrels/ Dist: Nov 2003 Btl: May 2016/ Tasted: June 2016

Pungent and gritty aromas of coffee, tart green fruit and soft winey red fruits. Lightly oiled with barley and the classic Springer character coming through. Late hints of green olives and dark chocolate. Quite earthy and subtly raw with faint ozone and peat notes.

The palate opens with the subtle red fruit and coffee. Again quite earthy, manurey and raw with gritty coffee’d tannins and a touch of peat. Lovely intensity with the oily Springer character coming through on the finish with just a smidge of salt and barley.

A drop of water does bring out a light sulphur note but its not intrusive. It also emphasises the dirty peat, green olives and manure. The finish is still quite dry and raw, but I can forgive it that!

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength (2013 Edition) 53.1%

Tasted June 2013

The aromas are quite fishy with burnt rubber and an intense alcohol prickle. Hints of treacle, burnt wood and fishy-peat emerge, although the sherry cask spices do have a slight cardboard demeanour.

The palate opens with a slight sulphur blemish and notes of burnt rubber. Dry, earthy, fishy-peat follows along with plenty of sherrywood tannins and unfortunately some cardboardy spice. Underneath there is a sensation of orangey citrus fruit but the combination of tannins and alcohol masking that to certain extent.

A drop of water unfortunately emphasises the sulphur blemish but it also emphasises the luscious, sweet, honeyed fruit. On the palate it has brought out the citrus character of the malt but the sulphur note is still present and the finish is now a touch metallic.

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength (2015 Release) 53.8%

Sherry/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Pungent and earthy with hints of oily barley, dried orange, sultana, prune and subtle treacle. A hint of marzipan appears along with some earthy-peat. Very clean and blemish free with a touch of coffee’d tannin and dark chocolate.

The palate opens with the moist fruitcake and tangy alcohol. Hints of earthy-peat, dark chocolate, walnut, treacle, tar and salt follow. A very intense, salty middle and a long, lightly oiled and slightly fishy finish with lingering sherried fruit.

Water emphasises the barley on the nose along with the juicy citrus. The sherry is less intense and has a more refill-like character now. Still pleasantly complex with dates, coconut, warm spice and vanilla. The palate mirrors the nose, with a little more emphasis on the salt, sugars, and oils. Lovely violety after-taste now.

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength (2016 Release) 54.1%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Earthy and manurey peat first hits you on the nose. The sherry is relatively subtle but adds some coffee and herbal notes. Hints of macerated orange, tangerine and wood spice appears.

The palate opens with some delightfully juicy dried orange, raisins and a touch of prune. Malty and treacly with earth and wood spice. The peat is gentler than the nose would suggest and the citrus and salty notes build on the middle. Very mouth-watering finish with a lovely lightly fishy, dry spice and gritty peat finish.

A drop of water softens and smoothes out the nose, but aside from that there’s not much change. Likewise the palate, although it does bring out a touch of classic violet. It’s still quite gritty and spicy though!

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength (2017 Release) 54.2%

70% Sherry, 30% Bourbon

Tasted: Feb 2017

An intense and earthy and coffee’d nose with edgy sherry fruits, malt and spice. Subtly herbal and subtly peated with building tannins and salt.

The palate is very soft and not as gritty/ tannic as some releases. It opens with orange, tangerine and soft spice before the subtly edgy and coffee’d sherrywood comes through on the middle along with hints of violets, fish oils, coastal notes and supple gritty tannins. Long and fishy with dry, chocolaty tannins and lingering salty notes.

With water the nose displays more of the orange citric notes and a touch of dark chocolate. The aromas are a little oiler and fishier and the chocolate has become less dark and more milk in character. On the palate more barley character is noticeable and like the nose the chocolate notes are more milk than dark. Wonderfully soft with treacle and malt coating the mouth but the salt and tannins balance.

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength (2017 Release) 56.5%

Tasted: Dec 2017

Not too heavy on the sherry with aromas of edgy barley, malt, fish oils and slightly mentholated peat. Quite malty with hints of dried fruit, treacle and violets. Lovely balancing salt and citrus notes.

The palate is quite dry and barley’d with like the nose suggests, just some subtle sherried dried fruit. Lovely citric and salty middle with a touch of malt, treacle and dry peat. Long and juicy with sherry notes coming through, along with a touch of tar, liquorice and tobacco.

With water the barley is a slightly more aromatic and violety, with hints of peach and pineapple appearing. The palate is softer and maltier with a touch more treacle and dried fruit. Darker, spicier and more tobaccoey on the middle. The finish is much the same as it is neat with a little more mouth-watering citrus. This has to be my favourite 12 year old cask strength release!


Springbank ‘Green’ 12 year old 46%

Distilled from organic barley, aged in American oak.

Limited edition of 9000 bottles.

Tasted: Nov 2014

A pleasantly fresh and slightly gristy nose. There is a touch of lightly oiled boiled sweets, earth and sweet peat. The absence of any sherry matured spirit allows the sweet and lightly buttery American oak to come through. Lightly herbal and coastal.

The palate displays the freshness of the nose along with some lightly oiled barley, sweet apicot, orange and lime. The buttery oak comes through on the middle, with what appears to be a first fill character. The building brine balances the sweetness and a light sweet peat note can be detected. Wonderfully fresh, tongue tingling finish with the dense fruit and oak lingering.

Springbank Green 13 year old Sherry Matured 46%

Tasted: Nov 2015

A pungent, earthy and very coffee’d nose with hints of dark chocolate, spice and edgy, nutty Oloroso. Beautifully balanced with the fishy, parma violet notes coming through along with earthy-peat and plenty of salt.

Soft, coffee’d and toffee’d on the palate with gentle spice and fish oils. The sherry is quiet soft but the wood notes increase to edgy proportions. Softly peated with plenty of dark chocolate, wood spices along with a classic, balancing, springer salty finish.

Springbank 14 year old ‘Port Wood Expression’ 52.8%

Tasted: 2004

The nose is initially very fruity. The rich winey red fruit aromas dissipate quite quickly, bringing forth the creamy Bourbon oak, with hints of salt, spice and a whiff of peat. Dry and quite oily with a subtle intensity of soft red fruits, malt, salt and creamy oak. The mid palate is dominated by its spicy/ peppery character which tails off to leave an impression of peppery tannins and a slight sea tinged perfume note. A lovely after dinner dram.

Springbank 14 year old Bourbon Wood 55.8%

Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A very oaky nose with oily marzipan, toffee, caramel and butter. A touch of barley, salt, heather and apple dose come through but the oak is the dominating factor.

The palate mirrors the nose with soft vanilla, toffee and subtle s=wood spice up first. Hints of barley, straw, salt and apple comes through on the middle. Long, intense finish with the sweet barley lingering along with some taught oak tannins and butter cream.

Springbank 15 year old 46%

Tasted: Aug 2003

A deep, rich and pungent sherried fruit (with a slight vegetal blemish) with a restrained nutty richness. Seriously complex with hints of peat, earth and dunnage warehouses, loam, orange cream, apricot, figs and creamy bourbon oak (vanilla oil and marzipan). It displays a lovely maturity.

The palate is smooth and rich with a bracing coastal freshness. Enticingly rich honeyed mature apricot mingles with citrus, sherry, delicate peat and wood spices. A lovely mellow dram with a slightly smoky finish.

Springbank 15 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: A bit muted and reticent to begin with. You have to work this nose hard. Slightly oily and quite mature with a distinct dusty wood character. Hints of brine, fish, tar, onion skin and baked fruit emerge but it takes quite a while.

Palate: Soft and mature, again quite heavy on the dusty wood and fish oils. Plenty of earth and bark-like notes along with a tremendous spice hit on the middle. Gently peated with some liquorice, tar and malt. One can sense the mature baked fruit beneath all the wood…. Just.

Finish: Stunning finish. Full of salt encrusted charred driftwood and parma violets.

Conclusion: Again a very woody malt, which possibly dominates a tad too much. The finish however is sublime.

Springbank 15 year old 46%

Bottling Code: 13/17

Re-Tasted: July 2013

Rich and intensly woody aromas of chocolate coated orange along with hints of fish, tar and earthy peat. There is a slight sulphur blemish but the nose ciontinues to unfold with hints of chunky barley, violets and dense sherried fruit. Quite harmonious (blemish aside) with some lovely dusty spices.

The palate is full and rich, woody and sherried and like the nose displaying a little sulphur. Orange and tangerine fruit mingles with the wood spices, chocolate, salt and fishy notes. Gently peated with a crumbly, earthy nuance along with liquorice, tar and violets. Long, dry, woody and fishy finish.

Springbank 16 year old Single Cask Madeira Finish 56%

10 years in Bourbon/ 6 years finishing in Madeira

Cask: 07/178-3/ Dist: June 1997 Btl: Oct 2013/ Tasted: Oct 2013

A rich, buscuity, Madeira cake nose with earthy, honey notes. Edgy toffee, baked fruit, salt along with hints of parma violets. With time some grainy spices, menthol and dried fruit emerge.

The palate is soft and honeyed with shortbread biscuits and Madeira cake, dried apricot, raisins, sultanas and earthy coffee/ herbal tannins. Gently peated with a very dry, herbal, honeyed, mocca/ malty middle. A huge mouthful of a malt with a very malty finish, finally moving into light tar and walnut fade.

A drop of water brings out more citrus on the nose with an almost late harvested botrytis sweetness. The Madeira richness has faded a bit and allows the American oak to show with an almost old, dusty Glen Grant like character. It now feels double its age with a dusty violet note prevalent. The palate is exceedingly luscious now with the softly spiced herbal notes noticeable. Still mouth-filling but a little less tannic. Very more-ish!

Springbank 16 year old Local Barley 54.3%

Tasted: Feb 2016

A smoky and earthy nose with dusty barley and gritty wood notes. Lightly fishy but very full and barley’d with some apricot, orange, coffee and salt.

The palate is equally full and barley’d with fleshy apricot, malt and tight coffee’d wood tannins. A lovely, intense, salty middle gives way to a long, slightly fishy and violety but very spicy finish with hints of earthy peat. Wow! Those dusty spices linger!

Water brings out the citrus, light honey and granulated sugar along with some sweet-ish vanilla. The palate is softer and shows a little more vanilla oak and less of the spice; however the fruit has become extremely succulent. Still quite gritty and displaying a lovely maturity. Long and malty with a touch of capsicum in the finish.

Springbank 17 year old Sherry Wood 52.3%

Tasted: Jan 2015

Earthy aromas of alcohol soaked apricot and apple. Less gritty than the 12 year old with hints of coffee, violets and citrus. The fruit becomes slightly baked in character with time and hints of sugar coated nuts appears.

Soft and full on the palate. A little tannic but it’s balanced by the depth of honey and rich fruit. Very salty on the middle with a mouth-watering, nutty finish. Wow! No that is a finish. All biting spices, expresso coffee, wood and alcohol!.

A drop of water brings out the orange and tangerine and brown sugar notes. It’s still quite woody but the wood notes are softer now. On the palate it pushes the sherry into the background and more of the oily spirit character can be detected, thus giving it more balance. Still a little woody but a lovely finish. 

Springbank 18 year old 46% 56.95

80% Sherry, 20% Bourbon/ Tasted: July 2009

A deep and intense nose opening with a torrent of sherry wood spices followed by honeyed, rich fruit, soft peat, dunnage floors and coastal nuances. Wonderfully rich blood orange emerges along with liquorice, toffee and a slightly perfumed top note and some late vanilla oils.

Soft and gentle on the palate, stunning depth with more of the distillery character evident to begin with – Mature brittle honey, vanilla, barley flavours. The sherry wood comes through on the middle with dried fruit, nuts, a touch of smoke, some salty notes and piquant alcohol. It certainly seems higher than 46%. Lovely length with a salty/ coastal finish and lingering wood notes.

A drop of water brings out a coffee note on the nose as well as a touch of chocolate and lightly toasted caramel, and emphasises the spicy wood notes. On the palate the intensity of the alcohol is calmed and it has become a veritable mouth full of mature honey. The gentle Longrow-esque earthy-peat is allowed to come to the fore as is a certain dusty/ loamy/ cigar tobacco note.

Springbank 18 Years Old 46%

Tasted: Feb 2012

A dense and woody nose which is quite leafy and herbal to begin with followed by mature barley and some seriously fishy aromas. The dry/ herbal/ earthy peat comes through all wonderfully wrapped in a cod liver oil soaked tarry notes. Very expressive and complex, showing a pleasant degree of maturity and finally a hint of bog myrtle, violet and dark chocolate coated orange.

The palate begins like the nose – dense and oily along with some dry, slightly tannic old sherry wood adding hints of nuts, coffee and cocoa. The mouth coating fish oils build wonderfully and there is a fleeting heathery/ violet note, which to a certain degree subdues the peat but it does makes a brief tarry appearance.  Very long and quite woody with a briny,parmaviolet aftertaste. Conclusion: A beautiful old Campbeltown malt, distinctly old Springbank!

Springbank 18 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose; Dense, oily, liquorice coated herbal toffee to begin with, followed by gentle treacly sherry and a lovely combination of dry an oily peat. Juicy and aromatic with a touch of crystallised violets, sawdusty American oak and dusty spice developing. Finally some fish oils an salt arrive. Magnificent!

Palate: Opens with the soft, sherried dried fruit and moist fruitcake. Light treacle coats with tar and malty nuances. On the middle the fish oils and salt develop as does the mature American oak notes and violets. Mouth-filling and stunningly deep.

Finish: Long and quite spicy with plenty of soft chocolaty wood notes, sweet violets and fish oils.

Conclusion: A beautiful balance of American and sherry oak, maturity an freshness makes a magical malt!

Springbank 18 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: A beguiling nose of herbal laced exotic fruit and dusty violet stained oak. A vibrant minerality balances the fruit and a touch of malt and edgy spices appear.

Palate: Soft, sweet and a little less complex than the nose would lead you to believe. Homogenous apricot and citrus fruit with a touch of violets.

Finish: Lovely length as the dusty violet notes linger along with the dusty oak.

Conclusion: It’s an odd one. The nose is lovely but the palate doesn’t live up to it. The finish however is divine.

Springbank 18 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Oct 2014

The nose reeks of mature, grainy Oloroso with hints of salt and seaweed but the sherry is the overriding character. Some dusty dried fruit and dark plumy fruit emerge along with a touch of citrus, violet, orange peel, leather tobacco, dark coffee cream all topped with a dusting of icing sugar.

The palate is dry and quite woody and tannic as older Springbank can be with coffee, liquorice, tobacco, toffee and plumy, dark fruit. Wow, that’s an intensely bitter middle. It’s taking no prisoners as the sherry wood really takes hold. Stunning finish with morello cherry, light peat, marzipan and chunky wood spices. Very impressive chewy after-taste.

Springbank 21 year old (2017 Release) 46%

Bourbon, Sherry, Port and Rum casks/ Tasted: May 2017

Stunningly deep aromas of violet scented malt, Oloroso, coffee, winey port, tobacco and leather. Beautifully mature with Armagnac-esque dried fruit, sweet pruney fruit and black pepper sets the background and the vibrant citrus notes mingle with the salt and peat smoke to dramatic effect.

The palate is soft and winey with a lovely coastal elegance and violety, gritty Oloroso, which is balanced by the treacly. Raisinated fruit, dried plum and prune follow and like the nose have a distinct Armagnac-eque quality. Subtle port wood notes come through on the middle along with some coffee’d tannins, tobacco and leather. Seriously violety finish with the American oak vanillins arriving with lingering black pepper and dusty peat.

Springbank 25 year old 46%

Btl: 2006/ Tasted: Nov 2006

A stunningly deep and mature nose. Sherry cask, tobacco, earth and oodles of mature wood spices rise from the glass along with hints of coconut, coffee, loam and coastal notes.

The palate is full, brash and robust (as you would expect). Very earthy and costal with the heavy sherry wood notes showing from th outset. You have to like this style of whisky as the wood notes really dominate, but they are balanced wonderfully by some citrus and the ever present coastal character. A long, seamless and intensely fruity finish. Superb stuff!

Springbank 25 year old (2017 Release) 46%

Sherry & Bourbon casks, married in refill port

Tasted: Feb 2017

Wonderfully mature aromas of dusty American oak appear first. Hints of violets, fish and peat follow. The sherry, which is a lot less dominant than past bottlings, adds gentle notes of mature prunes, walnuts and subtly gritty tannins. Stunningly balanced with just a suggestion of porty black fruit.

The palate opens with the soft, vanilla oak and hints of barley and peat. Like the nose the sherry influence is subtle and adds a gentle dried fruit, coffee and tobacco notes. Dark chocolaty tannins come through on the middle along with a light fishiness. Stunning depth and a lovely spiciness and a long salty, gritty/ woody finish. Now that’s how I like my old Springbank! – Predominantly American oak influenced with the other casks just adding subtle notes.



  1. ross says:

    Just cracked open a 10yr old bottle courtesy of your good selves – never sampled any Springbank before so looking forward to it. The colour and taste lead me to assume the spirit spent most of it’s time in a bourbon cask but I could be wrong. I’ve a poor nose but got a good whiff of orange and a little coffee before the alcohol obscured further detail. The taste for me lacked complexity but went some way in making up for that with a considerable finish that I am still chewing around now a good minute or so after my last snifter. In no particular order I encountered citrus fruits and spices, a little saltiness, more oil – hence the longevity of the finish perhaps – and a touch of peat but no real smokiness. My wife got lots of citrus in the nose and some oakiness in the palette. A drop of water allowed the flavours more room for expression but didn’t add anything particularly new for me. Enjoyable but closer to Arran than to Islay in more than just geography I think.

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