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My first taste of Springbank 12 was, in 2011 at a Springbank tasting (batch unknown) but i decided as i had fallen totally for the style of whisky that the Campbeltown legendary was producing, i fetched me my own bottle of 12 year old cask strength. This was the batch 5.
Nose: Natural toffees (like opening the box of home-made toffees in a family-owned candy shop) Caramel sauce with a complex barley-sugar note interlacing within the caramel richness. Greatest toffee complexity i have ever whitnessed in a malt. A coastal, tangy, salty peat (very understated but very well integrated) Some equally subtle, salty, sweet and sour sherry notes, these give way to a wonderful aromatic red berry mix.
Palate: A smoky wave of small but articulate peat with a salty springbank note and some coconut oil with treacle. Natural caramel colas with vanilla cream. Slight strawberry note with sultanas followed by a wonderfull spiciness. After oxidation this spiciness is as gentle as a grandmothers hand on your cheek. A gentle sweet baking spice nature to it. Cardamom mainly with cinammon, but cumin is also apparent.
Finish: The coastal nature of springbank comes back with the natural toffee caramels. The oak has a say with some vanilla and lingering mixed berries, sweet liquorice, pineapple and oranges.
Absolutely wonderful stuff, one of the best springbanks i have ever tasted, and i have tasted over 10 varieties now (including the 18 and 21 year old) this is in the top 3, really quite impressive the quality displayed batch after batch of this 12 year old. The tasting notes here are from late 2013, so now that i have tasted batch number 9 i will review that one soon to compare.