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I like Springbank. I originally bought a 12 YO CS and a 12 YO Claret wood early in my whisky journey and I was not too impressed. After about a year in the back of my cabinet I “rediscovered” it. At the time I was not sure if it was air effect or my palate. Given that I have enjoyed subsequent bottles right from the outset, I suspect it was my palate.
I managed to pick up a few 12 YO CS bottlings, some with different finishes, but the supply of the standard 12 year old has all but dried up. @Fiddich1980 generously gifted me this bottle for my birthday in 2020, and, as my bottle of batch 11 was winding down and I wanted to compare, I opened this one last September. It is about 90% full and gassed after each use.
A few years back, Springbank changed the ratio of sherry casks they use for this expression. From what I understand, this batch relies more heavily on ex-bourbon casks than the batch 11 which I will review after this one. You can see it here:
This expression was reviewed in a Brilliant Highland Whisky Glass in my usual manner on January 21, allowing it to settle after which I took my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Rich, spicy, fresh. Light fruit syrup, green apple. Slightly dusty. Water opens up the palate a little. (22.5/25)
Rich. Sweet / spicy arrival. Fruit and pepper in the development. Hint of peat. The peat is a little more pronounced with water, and the mouthfeel becomes a little thinner.
Long finish, cracked pepper. Cognac on the exhale.
The nose and palate compliment each other. Well-balanced.
Score: Neat - 88/100 With Water: 88.5/100
Compared to batch 11 the nose is brighter. The fruits in the palate are brighter, with less of a sherry influence. Both are excellent whiskies in their own rights.
The two batches mixed together in equal volumes are quite tasty. The spiciness of the more recent batch and the peat combine nicely. The dark fruits of the older batch are there in the background.
I have not yet tasted a disappointing batch of Springbank 12 YO CS. This is a whisky that should always be in my cabinet. If I ever see an opportunity to pick one up…