Archive for the ‘Springbank’ Category

Lombard Jewels of Scotland Springbank 1991 (13 year old) 50%

Casks 169-171/ Dist: July 1991 Btl: 2004/ Score: 8.5

Nose: Wonderfully fragrant with barley, and sub-tropical fruit. Lightly salted with a touch of ozone, orange, malt, straw and buttery oak. Water brings out some spice and lanolin.

Palate: A little masked by the alcohol but it shows a good depth of salt encrusted apricot along with hints of honey, straw and malt. Water brings out some gorgeously juicy orange, malty spice and a touch of smoke.

Finish: Long and salty with the sweet fruit and barley balancing.

Conclusion: This is not your average Campbeltown malt. In fact it bears more than a passing resemblance to Arran!

Lombard Jewels of Scotland Springbank 1965 (37 year old?) 46%

Sherry/ Dist: 1965 Btl: 2002?/ Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Mature, gritty sherrywood, moist, dried prune, raisin and malt with hints of fish oils, salt and a sliver of decadently creamy vanilla oak. Late notes of cedar, cigar smoke, coffee, tar and incense.

Palate: Full of robust, typical Campbeltown gritty Oloroso character. Prune, raisin, walnut, coffee with hints of peat, fish and violets. Stunningly deep and mature with hints of sweeter spice coated orange.

Finish: Utterly majestic with lingering Armagnac-esque dried fruit, violets and chocolaty tannins.

Conclusion: This can only come from one distillery in Scotland. Totally unique and totally stunning!

Lombard Jewels of Scotland Springbank 1969 (44 Year old) 41.1%

Sherry/ Dist: July 1969 Btl: April 2014/ Tasted: July 2015

Nose: One sniff an this can come from only one distillery! Classic, dusty, very mature, grippy but soft sherrywood tannins with Armagnac-esque prune, plum, raisin, sweet red grape, orange and walnut. Hints of French coffee, dusty violets and incense. So moist and decadently juicy with a light coastal note hovering in the background along with subtle smoke and peppery spices.

Palate: Beautifully mature, dried plum, prune, raisin all smothered in dark chocolate and soft sherrywood tannins. Hints of violet potpourri, incense and oodles of dusty sherry spices assail the palate. What a mouthful!

Finish: Great length with the lightly salted dried fruit and sweet, violet incense and dusty peat lingering.

Conclusion: Ooh, oooh, ooooh, oooooh, ooooooh! (I’m lost for words!)


Douglas Laing Xtra Old Particular Springbank 1995 (21 year old) 54.8%

Refill Butt/ Code: XOP0067/ DL11366

Dist: June 1995 Btl: Aug 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

A tarry and spicy nose with plenty of classic, gritty Oloroso and fish oils. Subtly earthy-peat follows along with a phethora of mature, pruney fruit, walnut and beautifully, velvety mature, dusty oak notes. Wow! It reeks of maturity in the classic old Springbank way. With time hints of liquorice, treacle, dark chocolate, warming spice and chocolaty tannins emerge.

The palate is mature and luscious with prunes, raisin and walnut to begin with. Again some gritty tannins appear along with dried citrus, earth, violets and dusty oak. Very malty on the middle with a touch of vanilla, creosote and dark chocolate. Long and spicy with the gritty tannins balanced by the stunning depth of dried Springer fruit augmented by a touch of Bowmore-esque parma violets.


Douglas Laing Old Particular Springbank 1996 (18 year old) 48.4%

Refill Butt/ Code: OLD0192/ Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Oct 2015

A lovely nose. Lightly oiled barley and sub-tropical fruit – melon, apricot, and guava. Wow! That’s fruity for a springer! And almost perfumed! Hints of earthy peat, fish oils, light medicinal herbs, lime, granulated sugar and lovely, fragrant/ grainy oak.

The palate is as fruity as the nose but not as tropical. More creamy oak and barley with a light saltiness, fish oils and oily peat. Lovely intensity and grippy oak on the middle, but the spirit balances superbly. Slightly bitter spice finish with lingering soft tannins, fish oils and light coffee. A superb bottling!

Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Springbank) 27.97 Glazed Cashews and Lemon Lollies 13 year old 57.6%

Sherry/ Tasted: July 2012

Stinky, slightly sulphurous and raw first fill Oloroso aromas. Hints of chocolate and no shortage of alcohol. With time there is a slight fishiness and a suggestion of peat. Water brings out plenty of raisinated fruit, earth and loam. Thankfully that sulphur note has dissipated. Slightly oily now with warm spice notes. 

The palate is sweet, malty and all wood – Liquorice, treacle and wood tannins by the bucketful. Water makes the palate mirror the nose and also brings out a touch of burnt wood. Very intense and spicy finish with a slight herbalness and a dry after-taste. Water doesn’t make much of a change maybe brining out a touch of violets but not mitigating the tannins. Conclusion: Raw sherry an no distillery character. To be honest the palate is a bit dull when diluted.

Whiskies of Scotland (Single Malts Direct) Springbank 15 year old 56.6%

Sherry/ Tasted: July 2012

A dense, toffee’d sherry nose. Slight herbal with some very pure, lush orange fruit along with hints of earth, manure, peat, tarred rope, salt and rough vanillins. Water flattens and makes it somewhat homogenous. 

The palate is soft, toffee’d sherry with a chocolatey edge. Over endowed with wood spices but the intrusive alcohol stops any further evolution. A drop of water makes it rather watery and insubstantial. Alcoholic finish with very butter, green wood notes. Water brings out a touch of peat and sweet honey. Conclusion: Neat it is overly alcohol dominated, but insubstantial when diluted.


Whisky Exchange Springbank 1993 (13 year old) 58.7%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1993 Btl: 2006/ Tasted:  Sept 2007

Yum! Great nose. Oily caramel and toffee with menthol, bog myrtle peat, rubber fisherman’s sowesters and earthy notes. Water emphasises the rubber and bog myrtle!

Loads and loads of coastal character on the palate, bog myrtle peat, iodine, wet rubber and oily fruit magically combine. Waters softens. The finish is short, with a predominance of cereal and lots of alcohol, which water softens but doesn’t lengthen. Rubber and more rubber! In conclusion – Great spirit, buckets of character, only really marked down by it’s finish

Signatory Springbank 1997 (6 years old) 43%

Bourbon Cask 183/ Dist: Mar 1997 Btl: Aug 2003/ Tasted: May 2005

Far too young, no character, no salinity with maybe a hint of citrus. It’s still wearing a nappy! Slightly sweet, youthful cereal on the palate with hints of salt and sooty-smoke and not a lot else. Who thought this was a good idea to bottle this?

Murray McDavid Springbank 1996 (7 year old at the time of tasting)


Tasted: Directly from the cask in 2003

This cask was simply stunning when you consider that it is only seven years old. Those of you that know me will be aware of my fondness for this distillery. Tangy, fruity and rich on the nose with a touch of peat. Medium-rich with linseed oil, glycerine and angelica notes. 

The palate was remarkably smooth, and classically Springbank (i.e. Woody!). Initially fruity and clean with a slight sherry note, opening into a full blown saline experience and a touch of peat. Very long and clean.

Murray McDavid Springbank 1991 (8 year old) 46%

Refill Sherry Cask MM1829/ Dist: Nov 1991 Btl: Feb 2000/ Tasted Nov 2002

A delicate nose of sea, salt, malt, oil and sherry with undertones of seaweed and medicinal peat. The palate is oily with plenty of sea-salt and sherry. For all it’s powerful attack it is a tad on the young side and lacks complexity. Good length though with the customary salty finish. 

Murray McDavid Springbank 1992 (12 year old) 46%

Finished in ex-Mourvedre and Syrah casks/ Dist: 1992 Btl 2004/ Tasted: June 2006

If I was to sum this whisky up in one word…. It would be…… feminine. It has a very floral nose, almost like a rose wine, yet underneath there is some herbal malt, a touch of earthiness and some salinity.

On the palate it tastes younger than 12 years old. It opens with lots of spicy red fruit, soft succulent malt, a touch of earthy cereal (showing its youth?), followed by coffee, herbs and salinity. Finishing with the spicy fruit returning. The palate is quite sweet but nicely balanced. This one is definitely for the ladies! 

Murray McDavid Springbank 1990 (12 years old at the time of tasting)


Tasted: Directly from cask in 2003

The nose on this cask of Springbank was intensly oily ,slightly spicy and appeared to be quite young and spirity, yet pure and full of complex creamy fruit flavours. The palate was rich and incredibly saline, in fact my notes ready thus – rich, quite soft, very salty, vanilla, ripe fruit, salty middle (very), intense, warming, very long, tangy, very salty. Oh and a hint of peat at the end!

Murray McDavid Springbank 1965 (34 year old) 46%

Refill Sherry (?)/ Dist 1965 Btl: 1999/ Tasted: Dec 2002

An intense and richly malted nose with sherry laced fruit cake, salt and overtones of vanilla/ crème brulee. A stunning, full on palate with a huge depth of tangy, rich dried fruit intermingled with sherry, salt and cream. The Campbeltown salts build into an incredibly windswept and salty middle and fade gently into a warm, exotic spiced finish. Wow! 

Murray McDavid Springbank 2000 (9 year old) 46%

Bourbon – Chateau Y’quem/ Dist: 2000 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Feb 2010

Expansive and loaded with honey of the herbal variety. Another dram where the cask and the spirit go head-to-head. The complexity is mind boggling, one minute it’s earthy and fishy, the next the cask retaliates with ginger biscuit and sweet, slightly candied dried grapes. All the while the briny notes begin to build with some late earthy-peat and liquorice. Yet another car crash of a nose. A curious but morbidly engrossing sort of nose. 

The palate opens with the sweet earthy-pat, hickory and wood spices followed by tons of brine and fish notes, then comes the sweet grape and tannins. A very fishy and bog myrtly Springbank with an exceedingly coal dust middle. The finishing cask stays firmly in the background and like the nose it is a curious, yet intriguing combination. Great intensity and length with a real salty kipper finish. A dram for breakfast with your Arbroath smokies? There’s even a touch of Costa Rican coffee in the after taste for good measure! Phew it’s all a bit rock ‘n’ roll as they say!

Duncan Taylor NC2 Springbank 1996 (10 year old) ‘Port Finish’ 46%

Sherry(?) – Port/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2007/ Tasted:  Sept 2007

Intense aromas of rich sherry fruit and spice with late vanilla and a touch of salt The palate is soft, with some sherry fruit. Pleasantly mouth filling with a distant echo of smoke. Good length with lots of late tangy spices and liquorice. Not much distillery charter. Simple yet pleasant

Dewar Rattray Springbank 1997 (12 year old) 57.5%

Bourbon cask 212/ Dist: Apr 1997 Btl: Jan 2006/ Tasted: Apr 2006

Quite a clean and floral nose with apricot, hyacinth, white blossom, earth and saline notes. With time it develops an oily fisherman’s sowester note. On the palate it really displays it’s youthfulness. Very cereally and earthy with plenty of briny ‘off the still’ notes. Delicate and earthy with some drifting peat smoke. Far too young! 

Water emphasises the youthful oily and rubber notes and it starts to become a tad soapy, whilst it really doesn’t do much for the palate except remind you that it should have been left in the cask for a few more years! 

Dewar Rattray Springbank 1997 (12 year old) 59.3%

Refill Bourbon Cask 827/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Sept 2009

A lovely, crisp, coastal nose. Quite heavily peated for a Springbank. The peat is wonderfully sweet(ish), crumbly in texture and full of bog myrtle, fish, coffee-manure (really!) and rubber. There is some lovely, perfume accentuated orange fruit. It could pass for an Islay at a blind tasting any day! Although it has possibly a more rounded character to it. My god, at last a good privately bottled Springbank!!! 

Quiet oily on the palate, dare I say it, delicate? The peat is practically the only flavour that emerges from the somewhat piquant alcohol. Water definitely needed! 

However said water makes no difference to the nose but the changes to the palate are quiet dramatic. The palate now loosened from the grip of the alcohol displays a lovely sweet, juicy character. It revels in the sweet peat, earth and crisp white fruits. However it is still young, coastal and bracing, possibly a bit short, and although there is some wood interaction and sweet vanillin’s, it could have done with a bit longer in the cask. In saying all that it is definitely a wakey-wakey dram, one to blow away the cobwebs or enliven the senses after a tedious day at the office. And for that reason I think it deserves shelf space. I mean how many time have you heard me being enthusiastic about a privately bottled Springbank?

Alchemist Springbank 10 year old Port Finish 46%

Tasted: Mar 2007

This is a vatting of one third Bourbon cask and two thirds Port cask aged malt.

A deep, rich and extremely fruity nose. Candied orange fruit, port notes, spice, sweet bourbon oak and costal notes. Lovely balance with a slight perfumed note, A lot less girly than the Murray McDavid bottling, it develops an earthy/ bog myrtle/ medicinal peat note over time.

On the palate it is quiet sweet with creamy red winey fruit (berries), bourbon oak and buckets of salt on the middle. Youthful and intense with coal dust and earthy peat coating the palate. Perfectly integrated, one of the best wine cask matured malts I’ve tasted in a long time.