Let it breathe. Let me say it again: Let. It. Breathe. This whisky needs time to open up. It's bottled at 46%, so it's strong. It's unchillfiltered and has no caramel colouring, if that kind of thing matters to you.
Nose (undiluted): toffee, dried fruit (raisins?), light smoke, peat, vanilla, pears, leather, citrus (orange?), pine needles in the background. Don't rush this. It's a delightful nose. Take your time.
Palate: this is where Springbank's complexity really shines. Thick, creamy, full-bodied, starting with toffee, smoke, vanilla, developing light peat, floral honey, ginger, ending on cinnamon, biting black pepper and tangy brine. You really want to "chew" this one for 10 seconds or so, to appreciate the complex development it presents. Fantastic.
Finish: Smoke, peat, ginger, pepper, oak, leather, tobacco notes, hints of banana. Breathe and really enjoy the finish.
Adding water to Springbank brought out more sweetness on the nose as well as floral and herbal notes on the palate. (Hints of pine nuts or cashews perhaps?) I was expecting it to be smokier and peatier, but these notes are complimentary and do not dominate the malt the way they do in a Laphroaig or an Ardbeg. This is a very enjoyable malt. After the bottle has been open for a few weeks, the peppery bite calms down a BIT and more sweetness comes through on the finish. It's hard to say anything bad about this expression.