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Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength

Average score from 23 reviews and 56 ratings 89

Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength

Product details

  • Brand: Springbank
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 54.6%
  • Age: 12 year old

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W
Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength

I've had a challenging time with this whisky.

I decided quite early on I would review it for the site. But then every time I thought I had the flavour profile nailed down I would go back to it a few days later to confirm my flavour landmarks and the damned thing would taste different.

When people say this isn't for beginners they are not joking. I have more than 10 years drinking whisky under my belt and this challenged me. The whisky seems to be wound very tight. You know immediately upon your first sip it's a quality dram but there is lot going on and picking it apart is tough. I tried it with varying amounts of water before finally settling on 1 1/2 teaspoons in a 50ml measure as being the optimal for me (which is a lot. I never normally add more than 1/2 a teaspoon even to cask strength whiskies).

Before I knew it I was halfway down the bottle and was still trying to work it out so I thought 'stop trying to analyse it Dan and just enjoy it'

And that's when it clicked for me.

Nose

Sherry. Baked apples and fresh green apples. White wine. And something that I believe is specific to the Midlands of the UK 'Grays herbal tablets' (sort of a gingery cough sweet).

Taste

Apple strudel. Sherry. Gingerbread men. Stewed gooseberries. Flapjack.

Finish

Is quite salty and has peat.

So overall. Excellent stuff. Just challenging. But I like a challenge!

I've ordered another bottle of a different batch I found on-line.

PS.

I know lots of people don't but I like the new Springbank labels. Very 70s retro.

"Before I knew it I was halfway down the bottle and was still trying to work it out so I thought 'stop trying to analyse it Dan and just enjoy it'" Well isn't that the truth. Nice, honest review. I have two different batches open and they are quite different. I see from your picture that this is batch 15 benswhisky.co.uk/p/… I like your reference to flapjacks. Growing up, and watching American TV shows I thought flapjacks were a variant of pancakes. Having lived in the UK I know what you are referencing and it is so accurate. Keep enjoying your bottle but save a bit to compare to your next batch!

@Wierdo, I like your review and references, it's a good description of what can happen when trying too hard to analyze what's happening in your dram. Sometimes you just have to let it happen of its own accord.

As for the labels, although I am partial to the previous update, these new ones are great, they just don't see to give a f@#* what people will think or to follow the current marketing angle.

@WhisQueer

(Yes, the title was trying to be a reference to Stravinski)

I never tasted Springbank before, this is my first time. It's not my usual kind of dram (it lacks peat), but I've found it to be a very interesting one. It has been bottled at cask strength, and can be improved by a drop of water.

It has something medicinal in itself, but on the sherry, sweetet side than the Lagavulin, Laphroaig, etc. Not uninteresting.

Batch number : 17

Nose : very red, a lot of wine flavours thanks to the sherry. Porto. A hint of red berries, but also a bit of astringence (tart ?). Not a huge fan of the astringent part, which almost put me off at first.

Taste : quite amazing and evolving, to be honnest. Chewy, savoury, mouth coating. Lemon, more sherry, some fruit (dried plums ?), brown sugar, and sudddenly it's turning to leather, tobacco, liquorice and finally mint.

Finish : a spicy note of black pepper, orange marmelade lingering for a while with a tad of smoke. Quite pleasing aftertaste.

I won't buy this one for myself, but it's still an interesting combo between medicinal austerity and the sherry bombs.

I do enjoy Springbank 12 CS - I've got 2 different batches open at the moment and they are both unique but with the same DNA. I love the dirty, fusty, funky notes that make me picture the inside of a dunnage warehouse. Try it after something unpeated and you'll definitely notice the peat in it. Nice review (though I give the ones I've had a few more points).

@Wierdo, funny you mention that, I bought a bottle for our club and have found it to be rather closed and as you describe "wound up tight". It's been open over a year and is still 60-70% full, it's progressively gotten better but still is fussy as everything.

@Hewie

Springbank 12 Cask strength, Batch 14, bottled in January 2017 at 54.2%

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea,
My desire is always to be here,
Oh Mull of Kintyre

Ok, so Springbank of Campbeltown doesn’t exactly hail from the Mull of Kintyre, but it’s well south on the Kintyre Peninsula – and “as the crow flies” it’s only a mere 10 miles or so from the southernmost tip.

This bottle is a bunch of firsts for me: my first “cask strength” whisky, my first Springbank whisky, and, therefore, also my first Campbeltown whisky. Despite not having tried Springbank previously, I was certain, based on correlation with what I know I like in a whisky, that this would hit the mark. Boy did this hit the mark for me! Being relatively new to the big wide world of single malt whisky, and having really only sampled from the usual range of entry level OB’s – I haven’t had the opportunity to try any really old stuff. However, this bottle is just how I imagine Scotch whisky tasted in bygone days. I found this bottle very evocative of another place, another time – I love the journey it takes me on. I also love the philosophy behind Springbank. This is part of the reason that they are enjoying a lot of recognition currently. That and they apparently make fantastic whisky! There is no little booklet of tasting notes that comes with the bottle – you’re not told what tastes we are supposed to find within. You even have to do your own detective work to find out that this is batch 14 of the 12 year old cask strength bottlings.

Nose: Sherry at the forefront, dried fruits, raisins sultanas. Merging with gentle oak and peatiness. Malt sweetness.

Palate: Malt sweetness. Marmalade. Dark sugar, burnt toffee. Fusty (like I imagine a dunnage warehouse) – old books, wet wood and hessian. Salty, brackish. Vegetal peat, a little iodine. Some leather and tobacco leaf. Baking spices, especially ginger – the dried form. White pepper providing additional warmth.

Finish: Combination of salty, peaty, savoury notes fading to a mouth coating tobacco smoke finish.

Being cask strength, I was expecting the nose to have a bit more punch than it does, and even the palate isn’t overly assertive. I didn’t appreciate how peaty this is until I had a wee dram following on after some Bunnahabhain - the peat is so well integrated rather than being dominant. Now I’ve got a little insight into the Springbank funk that people speak of – it’s quite tricky to put into words but is completely appealing. Highly recommended!

Nice review!

Did you try adding a little water to it? I find a few drops work well with Springbank.

Also, if you like it now, I suspect you'll like it even more after a few months...if it lasts that long.

This link list all the batches starting with batch 1 Jan 2010, very helpful. I have been wanting to pull the trigger on a SB 12 CS for a while, batch 14 and 15 available in DC near me but at $100 it's a tough call. Has any one had batch 15.

benswhisky.co.uk/p/…

@Pierre_W

Springbank distillery was established in 1828 by the Reid family and is located on the southern Kintyre peninsula. In 1837 it was sold to John and William Mitchell, in-laws of the Reids. In 1897 the distillery was incorporated as J. & A. Mitchell & Company Ltd who still are the owners. The distillery was closed on a number of occasions during its history, such as during both World Wars, between 1926 and 1933, as well as most of the time between 1979 and 1989. In 1992, Springbank decided to restore its floor maltings that had been ceased in 1960. It remains one of the few distilleries in Scotland where the entire process is conducted on site from floor malting to bottling. The 12-year old cask strength expression was first released in 2010 and was matured in both sherry hogsheads and refill sherry butts. My review refers to batch #1, bottled in March 2010.

The nose is very malty to start with: flavours of cereal and malted barley engulf your nose, not overpowering but quite assertive. After a while there are notes of lemon, vanilla and oranges, together with a hint of brine and a good dose of salt.

The palate is full-bodied, chewy and surprisingly smooth. Now there are more oranges and lemons, followed by honey, liquorice and a whiff of smoke. Quite zesty and a bit austere.

The finish is long and spicy, ending on notes of orange peel and grass.

This is a terrific single malt, very malty and “farmy”, if you know what I mean. Just a tad below the 10-year old that I liked even better.

@Rantavahti

I Had found some great reviews about previous Springbank 12yo CS versions, and was keen to try batch 10 (2015 release) myself.

Matured in a combo of 70% Ex-Sherry and 30% Ex-Bourbon casks. Hard to say if this ones in the same level as its predecessors because of the lack of experience. But I can say one thing: this is a great dram

A stunning sequel to, living up to the greatness of the trilogy – The Bourne Ultimatum!

Nose: Fresh with citrus and just a little hint of peat smoke. The nose is so fresh, that actually feels like someone had sprayed fresh juice from a grape. Toffee and licorice notes stay in the background.

Taste: Honey, toffee and hints of pepper. Citrus is yet again involved, first it comes in the form of fresh grape/lemon, turning into sour lemon peel.

Finish: Bitter aftertaste, ginger and mint are dominating. Citrus notes are there too. Very very fresh and bitter.

Balance: Great dram, offering strong and versatile notes. Changes from fresh to dark notes and back to fresh notes again.

I finally opened my batch 10 and I don't get much Sherry but it was love at first taste. Ridiculous that I had to have my sister bring me this bottle from Nova Scotia because the mighty LCBO has not had Spring 12 CS for 3 years. Delicious stuff!

Love, love, love The Bourne Ultimatum! I've loved the Springbank 12 Cask Strength I've had too. Thanks for your review.

L

After not keeping my word to OlJas about posting it straight after my Batch 5 review i finally post this review.

Nose: Dense wood smoke (bark, heavy), a smoked-meat note and motor oil (2 stroke) greets you in a powerful manner. Pineapple sweet&sourness comes through with quince, grapefruit and coconut milk (with that sweet ripe sourness they provide). Barbecue honey glaze, cloves and mushrooms cap off the nosing notes, already lots of action from the glass.

Palate: Peking duck (glazed duck dish) and fudgy (not as much as #5). A strong "fusty" note of blue cheese comes at you. This note stays with me a while before black pepper and sherry stones arrive.

Finish: The black pepper clings on with light, pungent peat and orange marmalade. Some bitter pungent wood smoke at the tail end.

Well a punch of a whisky this was! As a peat monster metaphor this is more Laphroaig than Lagavulin (as this springbank isn't that much of a peaty whisky). I read BARutledge's review before and agree with many things and it seems the score will be close (can't remember what he gave now). The batch 9 is yet again a hugely flavorsome and well crafted Springbank, i love the unusual flavors you extract from these whiskies.

As for the comparison the batch 9 beats out the batch 5 on the arrival and draws on the nose and development. But, the batch 5 has the better finish and balance so this gets one mark less, but it's very close. The DNA is there, 4 batches between, and this is comforting that Springbank has shown consistency in a time where it is probably the whisky enthusiasts greatest luxury. This is just my opinion and it wouldn't surprise me if someone else would prefer batch #9, all i can say is they are close, they are like rival brothers. Very similar (or same) DNA/genes but very different character. The fifth batch is the calmer older brother while the ninth is the feisty, energetic younger brother. Both are excellent, and my guess is batch #10 is close to these two.

Thank you OlJas, a little overdue but glad you appreciated the comparison and the review. With the smokey embers, oily nose and fusty blue cheese on the palate you'd be sure to enjoy this over a LOTR movie rewatch ;) There is also a wonderful interaction between sweet, sour, salty and bitter in this one that i forgot to mention

Not sure where umea is but you must not have good access to authentic Chinese food. Beijing duck (as it is now called) is not glazed, but specially roasted, cut and served in a unique manner.hmm getting hungry.

@BARutledge

Springbank 12yr Cask Strength

ABV: 54.3%

Light Straw, Easter yellow

Snifter, splash of water

Peat throughout from nose to finish. However, the peat is distinctly different... It tastes potent? Maybe dry? As this scotch sits and opens up the peat becomes less pronounced and the whisky becomes more complex. It's like the peat broke apart into other flavors...

Nose-23: Very complex, flowers, leather, peat, vanilla, grenadine, pine, toffee, blackberries

Body-: thin, oily, unctuous, warm tingly mouthfeel, evenly and closely spaced legs all around

Palate-23: peat, salt, toffee, floral, blackberries

Finish-23: peat, smokey-oak, ash, raspberries, lasts and lasts...

Balance-24: almost perfect.

Overall-93:

I suppose this is my new favorite whisky. After adding up my totals of the various categories, I have not rated any whisky on connosr.com higher.

I purchased this bottle while on vacation in Boston from Federal Wine & Spirits in downtown. The store sits on the historic corner, where the Boston Massacre occurred.

I was in town to cheer on a former roommate of mine who was running in the marathon. I do not remember how I learned about this store, but I did make a concerted effort to visit the shop (and ask for Joe).

Joe happened to greet me from behind the counter of the empty store as I explained to him that I was on the hunt for a bottle of Talisker 18yr and something from Springbank. I had read a great review of 10yr 100 proof, so I asked if he had any. They did not, but he poured a taster of a Benriach spirit for the two of us while he seemed to ponder my request. This bottle of Springbank12 yr Cask Strength was his recommendation. I also picked up a bottle of Talisker 18yr during the same visit. Quite a score, I will definitely pop back in and say hi to Joe anytime I find myself back in town.

Thanks Lifewaterforce!

The ratings next to my notes help me remember what I like about a whisky, and I hope that it helps others understand what to expect if they were to acquire a bottle of their own.

I flipped through the various pictures of Benriach bottles on the whiskies tab to try to find it. I am pretty sure it was the Benriach, Heart Of Speyside that he poured for us.

connosr.com/whisky/speyside/…

It was not anything fancy, but it seemed suitable for the time of day. I think it may have still been morning. Maybe 11-1130. Haha. It was certainly a nice gesture.

Great review! I like your style as before, i think it complements this type of review as you can easily get lost in all the flavours a good Springbank can conjure up. Agreed on the peat breaking apart into different flavours, a great case in point. And considering you picked up a talisker 18 as well, makes for a pretty perfect shop run ;)

Can i ask what Benriach he offered you? It so happens i just posted a review of a Benriach myself today so i got curious.

@KMullaney

This dram is a fantastic dram. It is hot and smoky.

Nose: Slight edge of sherry. Smoke. Peat at the center. Gentle sweetness; vanilla and caramel. A hint of citrus. A touch of florals? Over all there is a lovely sweetness.

Mouth: buttery (even with a few generous drops of water).

Finish: hot. spicy, oaky, ginger, brine

This is really a lovely dram. I'm only about 75 mls into my first ever bottle but I get the feeling it's just going to get better and better. I'll probably be marking this somewhere in the 90's as well when I get around to reviewing it.

I have not had this particular batch, based on the ABV, but the two that I have had were excellent. This is definitely a favourite.

L

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.

Lifewaterforce, I'm not pulling up what Serge said at the moment, but his language was all in the realm of old garages and flinty dirty earthy stuff, as I recall, and not nearly no much about sweet stuff. Dirty Springbank is for me! I usually consider his blog entertainment rather than buying advice, but this was an exception.

The bottle in my current unopened hoard that I'm maybe most excited about--despite not being close to being the most expensive--is the now-discontinued 100 Proof. Salty seaweedy lowtidy Springbank, as I recall from the one other bottle I had a few years ago. Perfect!

Winter + Tolkien + great whisky sounds just about perfect to me. And fire. In fact, it's what I look forward to through all the hot sweaty months. You're the first one to comment on my JRRT avatar thing, by the way. I sometimes wonder whether people think it's some kind of freaky-deaky alien thing or who knows what. I've always loved his monogram and I've copied it for my own (JRRT > JRC), which I use on any art projects and the like that I somehow find time for.

Since you're RE-reading The Silmarillion, it should be no spoiler to say my favorite moment is Hurin's stand against the troll-guard of Gothmog in defense of Turgon's retreat: "Aure entuluva! Day shall come again!"

Yes!! That is an epic moment! Which is why, when me& my friends discuss on what else from Tolkien's world could be made into film, I strongly suggest the tale of Hurin. As the Silmarillion is a reconstitution of earlier and later works from Tolkien. My brother (who is a fellow Tolkien fan) finished reading "The children of Hurin" which goes into the events of that lineage more deeply, a lineage that connects the elves of belleriand with the first men of belleriand (Beor), the haladin (2nd house) and starts the greatest lines of the new men (dunedain, gondor, etc).

Hurin is an epic character, with a tragic end. Turgon is just a badass elven king, and his city is a place i would love to see someone try and recreate on the big screen.

On a whisky note, review of the batch 9 coming early next week :)

@TheConscience

My first Springbank, and I was mightily impressed. Needs water, though. And I rarely add water to whisky.

Nose: light smoke, creamy peat, dark honey, brine, and a hint of vanilla.

Palate: soft and creamy for such high ABV. Sweet, creamy peat; honey; brine; and spices. Without water I find it the same but with heightened salinity and more tightly integrated flavours.

Finish: a billow of smoke in the finale (it finally comes forward), then soft briny peat. The finish is very long and warming, with a lingering briny smoke.

These notes were compiled over 10 months and reflect my preference for this dram (a bit of water added).

@OlJas, Hazelburn 8 loses me on the palate. The nose is ok, but there is a dull sugary sweetness that combines with a grassy profile and a crisp buzziness on the palate that doesn't do it for me. I actually do not find it mild or tame, despite the absence of peat, and triple distillation. I think it stands up well in terms of its distinctness compared to other malts, but it is not anywhere near as bold or as distinct as Springbank CS or Longrow.

It's certainly competent, but I don't find myself reaching for it when looking for a dram.

Thanks for additional input, @Pudge72. I'll know to avoid Irish whisky in the future!

@Nozinan, a tale of missed opportunities! The LCBO once carried some finished Springbanks (the Claret wood, and others), but these were available at a time when I really could not afford to drink whisky. I was recently abroad and nearly purchased the Gaja Barolo finished Springbank. Opted for a 22 year old Caol Ila instead. They are on my radar and I really would like to try them since I typically hear only good things about them. Do you plan to post a review or your thoughts about the calvados wood? I am also curious about this one.

@hunggar

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Springbank. I’ve tried only a few releases on only a few occasions. I usually find myself less captivated by the whisky than my friends or the online reviews. But there’s no denying the distinctive house style, the attention to detail, and the overall craft presentation that they’re known for. With that in mind, I figured it was time for a new bottle. A sherried 12 year old CS will do…

Nose: Sherry, honey, caramel, brine, faint smoke, raisins, oak, sawdust, marzipan, wood polish. Tart, sweet, and inviting.

Palate: Oily mouthfeel. Farmy and fruity. Sherry, smoke, rich caramel, red fruit, and some faint cinnamon.

Finish: Orange rind, marmalade, ginger, smoke, burnt grass, burnt caramel, faint tannins, rich oak, red apples, and honey-drizzled dates. Long, smooth, and beautifully integrated.

I’m surprised at how mellow this is. Given its reasonably high abv, it’s neither big nor bold. Very smooth throughout, without a sharp or biting note to be found. In fact it’s so graceful that I find myself wishing for more of a kick. Regardless, this boasts rich caramel, a nice peaty compliment, and some serious balance. Worth it.

R

A rich golden color greets the eye as you pour this scotch into your glass. The cask strength creates some lovely "pearls" (bubbles) around the edges of your glass that cling and live for up to a minute or two before winking out. For some reason, these pearls last a tad longer than in other cask strength offerings, and they also appear a tad brighter than usual even for a high ABV dram.

Inhale decadent scents of clover, dates, honey, caramel, light campfire smoke, pan-fried plantain, brine, and cedar. Take a sip and experience marzipan essences, brown sugar, sea salt, crème brulee, aged leather, espresso, a touch of oak, and rich toasted malt.

In some ways, this scotch reminds me of a Brora I tasted last year. Certain rough edges blend delightfully with "farmy," coastal notes. Be prepared for a long, warm finish that lingers gracefully without a harsh alcohol presence. The flavors last and last with a delightfully oily consistency as the palate echoes the palate, in addition to slightly more salt and a kiss of oak.

Like Highland Park's 18 Year, this Springbank is a "dram for all seasons." It has a hint of smoke, a light sherry influence, and the hand crafted farmy/coastal touches of old 12-15 year old Broras and Clynelishes.

I'm not entirely sure which ABV bottle I reviewed since it was at a pub and I forgot to examine the bottle. I was just guessing. I happen to have an unopened bottle. When I open that, I will review it. I got it on sale for around $50 American. A real steal. Thanks for your compliment about my writing.

Believe it or not, I am a published novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, and poet. With these reviews, I just have fun. When I'm writing for posterity in a book or something, I'm quite obsessive to detail. I actually enjoy these whisky reviews because they allow me to write "off the cuff" so to speak.

Next time I'm at the Stillhouse, I will consult the bottle I reviewed and list the batch/ABV level properly.

I've not tasted the Longrow 18, but I own a bottle (2009). I took a gamble on buying my bottle (2009) after reading Serge's review (of what he calls the 2008) here:

Longrow 18 yo (48%, OB, 2008) Advance sample. Another brand new Longrow that will be bottled this week according to the ever spirited Frank McHardy. Aren’t we all dreaming of something new, that would match the brilliant 1973s and 1974s, or the best casks from 1987? Let’s see... Colour: straw. Nose: starts boldly on cider apples, raw rhubarb and warm butter, with also notes of old walnuts, liquorice and old books (a second-hand bookshop, really.) Gets then both farmier and more ‘maritime’, with the same notes of wet wool as in the CV, wet grains, kelp, then fresh mint and moss. Pleasant mustiness, fresh mushrooms and moss. Medium peatiness. Mouth: yes, more peat and more punch on the palate than on the nose, and in that sense it’s closer to the CV. The great news is that it’s also very clean again, more directly salty, orangey, spicy (notes of dried cardamom), with an excellent ‘pepperiness’ growing bolder by the minute. Even hints of chilli (not of the ‘End of the World – Triple XXX’ category that is.) Salted smoked fish. Finish: very long, very peppery and very orangey (bitter oranges). Obligatory silly comment: please drop the Tokaj, Barolo or Whicheverwine casks and make more of this kind of pure breed (I’m sorry)! This bottle should become legendary once it has rested quite a few years in a quiet cellar. Ours, for example ;-). SGP:436 – 92 points.

BUT . . . here is what the LA Whisky Society said about the same year Longrow 18. The review was published in 2011, but I suspect the bottle reviewed was the same year Serge reviewed:

N: Winey (almost like a finish). Lots of tartness from limesmixed in with charred fatty meats and a fair bit of peat in the back.

P: Initially dominated by musty stale notes that were unpleasant. Yeasty/ bready notes come through followed by a bit of spice that disappears quickly. I didnt get much on the finish except for some sulphur/ rubber. B-/C+

n: Sulpher and garbage

p: Dirty pail. Metallic. Salt. Not my thing. Springbank distillery sinks even lower. Sad.

n: wet grassy peat smoke, cinnamon candies, and clove cigarettes. Smells of salted ham and a doused paper fire.

t: bread dough that was in an industrial fire with a dose of the sulphur (rotten eggs) that I didn't like. The peat smoke is very subdued and tastes like a wine cask-type finish; it has this weird sour/sweet plastic quality. There aren't too many other elements that show, some prune and seasalt, but the sour note stays through the finish. I kept drinking it to see if I'd come around, but I liked it even less.

Here is a "little gem" that Serge loved last year. It's still around since a lot of other people did not love it. Sort of a cross between a Longrow and a farmy old Brora:

Kilkerran 9 yo 2004/2013 'Work in Progress - Bourbon Wood' (46%, OB, batch #5) Five stars I always liked Springbank/Cadenhead's way of writing 'matured in oak' on their bottles. Or maybe do they still have chestnut wood? Colour: white wine. Nose: yes! It's got this typical sooty profile that's also only to be found at Springbank, it's to be wondered if it's not 'in the air' over there in Campbeltown, just like 'flor/jaune yeast' in Jura or Jerez. So soot, wet sand and gravel, sour apples, high-quality artisan yoghurt, ale, old wood, damp cellar, mushrooms and quite some freshly ground grey pepper, which is very peculiar... Love this nose. Mouth: love this palate even more. Everything is perfect, the oranges, tangerines, tar, smoke, grains, spices, ashes, liquorice, lemon, grape seed oil, the mineral side... Just between us, I don't think it's 'WIP' anymore. Unless that means Wonderfully Interesting Petrol ;-). Finish: long, on the same flavours. I mean, long and perfect. Comments: considering the current avalanche of depersonalised NAS oak/wine bombs that taste all the same (right, more or less), this stylish Kilkerran is amazingly refreshing. Kudos. SGP:552 - 91 points.

@PeatyZealot

I saw this one dripping the market a few weeks ago and I figured a CS Springbank on sherrycasks couldnt be that bad and ordered it rightaway. This is batch no7 13/272 (for you Rigo)

Nose: Huge old oak and woodpolish, new suede leather quite a bit of coal smoke, like of smouldering embers. Some mineral flinty notes and a mix of forest fruit. Very big sherried nose with even some gunpowder/fireworks. With water the fruit gets ripe and sticky

Palate: Immediate big oily arrival with buckets of soft red fruit and Glendronach-like bubblegum. Cherry, strawberry, blueberry, peach in a thick, oily coating and just when you wonder if it has more to offer than just fruit, it turns to salty/sweet liquorice and charred oak, resin, forest floor and farmy peat. With water it becomes sweeter with even more juicy summer fruit and orange cream. Then suddenly some spicy flavors kick in. Cloves, Nutmeg, Cardamom mixed with sweet barley. You can chew on it forever, it never gets dull and keeps releasing one big flavor after another.

Finish: Big oaky finish with bitter orange, liquorice and woodsmoke. The creamy red fruit comes back again before leaving you with a pile of earthy ash.

The best 12 year old whisky that I had so far. Excellent from nose to finish. Bought this for €42,-, an absolute steal of a deal:) Try getting a 12y CS Sherried whisky from Islay for that same money... Grab it while its there. I just dont understand one thing, how could a +-70% spirit after being distilled 2,5 times end up at 50,3% after only 12 years in Scottish climate?

Maybe it was the humidity level. Perhaps that favours loss of alcohol vs water.

Either way, cask strength means full flavour. The amount of alcohol is less important. In fact, the lower the alcohol in a cask strength scotch, the more you can drink at one go without getting too buzzed to fully enjoy it.

Yes apparently there is lots of batch variation going on in these series, but most of the times the lower % cask strengths are much older than 12 so it kind of puzzled me. Not that I care one bit, I actually prefer it like this:) Its readily drinkable neat, but I still feel that particular cask strength 'zip' or 'oomph' to it that you dont get with watered down whiskies. After this, I want a CS Longrow :)

@WhiskyAndMe

This expression has been lying in my cabinet for quite a while now.. I loved it the first few times I got down to sipping a dram or two from the bottle.. but never got down to writing notes for but this time around when a friend suggested to taste this one since he wanted to write about it.. I thought I'd pen down my thoughts in here as well..

Nose: The strong sherry aroma that greets your nose is great opener for this spirit which had 60% of it left to mature in a first fill and the remainder in a refill Sherry hogshead before being bottled at cask strength. I also found some unmistakable notes of rubber that came through initially maybe because of the oxidation which occurred over the course of time..

Letting it breathe further brings out the sweet caramel interspersed with some aniseed which is quite nice on the nose. For the second dram a drop of water brought out the more floral notes that were probably getting hidden at 55.3% ABV

Palate:The palate's very interesting now.. its more like there's honey and a lot of spices being poured all over your tongue at the same time.. so its like an ooh and aah at the same time.. Got some nice dark chocolate notes coming through as well..and then there's the dryness that begins enveloping your mouth almost instantly and this begins to happen even as the liquid is still in there... quite fascinating for me.

Finish: The finish was fairly long.. I'd say just about perfect ... some sprinkling of white pepper notes .. wet wood.. more like someone had stuck my head in the barrel in which this spirit had matured.. and some mild dryness at the end of it all.

This one definitely left me smiling by the time it was over.

What's the bottling date? Check the inside of the front label. You have to look through the bottle. You will see a number / and another number. One is the year and the other is the day

@rigmorole .. The number that can be see through the bottle is 11/355. So I'm assuming 2011 is the year it was bottled and the 355 is probably 21st of December ...

@MaltActivist

Those of you who know me know that I have an irrational attachment to anything that comes of Campbeltown. Not because I'm an expert on Campbeltown expressions; far from it. It simply has some sort of mystical allure that I can't define.

So be it.

The spirit is a blend of 60% first fill sherry hogsheads and 40% re-fill sherry butts and served up at a lip smacking 55.3%.

Nose: My initial impression was of strong rubber flip flops which made me suspect the influence of sulphur. However, a bit of air and patience takes care of that quite well. The nose is quite thick with treacle marmalade and black peppercorns. The sherry is quite dry with a touch of cinnamon smoke.

Palate: Gorgeous delivery! An intense dark spice and cocoa powder rub on a basket of oranges. The chocolate treacle is back and gives it a lovely bitter sweet edge.

Finish: Spectacular! Long and intense with oily chocolate, wood and black peppers.

This is pretty much one of my favorite malts to come out of Campbeltown. What a class act this distillery is.

I've tried 2 different batches and been impressed with the quality. I find this does well a few months after opening.

What's the bottling date? It's located on the inside of the front label. You will see the year and the day with a backslash in between. Thanks for the great review!

@Nozinan

This bottle replaces my previous batch at just over 54%. I only really started to appreciate it a year after opening, and by the time I had my last dram I was wishing I had a couple more bottles.

This bottle was opened in early to mid January and has been gassed after each pour. This is my fourth or fifth taste. It has been a different dram each time. It started off with a tangy peat kick to it which has mellowed significantly, and (with my limited experience what I believe to be ) the signature spirit characteristics are starting to emerge.

Bear in mind I am recovering from a cold...

Nose: sweet sherry, ocean salt spray, vanilla,?citrus

Palate:mild peat, spice, warm, sweet, if you t your head back while sipping there's almost a menthol component. Nice thick mouth feel.

Finish: sour, salty, dry white wine.

This is a good batch. I will need to get another bottle of this. None available locally but I may have some options out west.

My question: are they discontinuing the 12 YO CS ? This is what I've heard. If so, ........pity.

Haven't been back to this one for a while, but I thought I would give it a go. I need to sort through 1700+ photos and videos from a trip so I needed a cask strength companion...

In reference to the above, I did end up with another bottle (now safely transported to its new home), and confirmed with Springbank that they indeed have no plans to discontinue this product.

Time has been good to this bottle, but it has never reached the heights of my first batch (which I only started to really enjoy over a year after opening (this one may not make it to a year...)

In addition to the above I get a hint of sulfur and I thought maybe a whiff of cocoa on the nose (neat). No citrus this time. Tasting (neat) I still get the peat, and I tried the head tilt thing again and got the menthol. curious.

Water (half a capful to a 20 cc pour) seems to initially dampen the nose entirely so I covered the glencairn for a few minutes...

It's interesting to watch. The air in the glass is warm so the alcohol evaporates but the glass is relatively cool so it condenses and runs down in rivulets...like a still. And a few minutes later it reaches some sort of a steady state...and the glass above the whisky level is dry. Curiouser.

First sniff has mown grass, maybe a hint of silage. A much fuller palate, and a great finish (as above).

This is not a dram for the beginner. probably why when I first tried it, it was not as pleasant (I was 4 months into my malt journey) and why it was better a year later. It has a lot of layers and some smells and tastes you need to develop a taste for....and I have. A to A+

I wish I could. It must have been in reference to another review.

I think essentially I took a sip and tilted my heard back. Maybe that affected my palate and I got the menthol. Sorry, I haven't tried that since and my last 15 CCs ended badly in a shortlived marriage with Amrut peated CS. The spare bottle is waiting, but it may need to wait a long time...

@mattberg

I like my whisky at cask strength and I'm also appreciating younger whisky, some of the drams I've tried over 18yrs are for me too rich. The 18yo Springbank is excellent as is the 15yo (probably my favorite allrounder now)

This 12yo CS is another great offering: I've added two teaspoons of water to open the dram up. The nose is a mix of flint, sea air, minerals, amber and liquorice pears. The arrival is quite soft and silky almost a candyfloss sweetness, then there's a very dry but fresh and salty second stage, where the youth of the whisky is apparent, the finish though is long and delayed, wow and what a finish, chili, raw ginger, fresh peat, sherbet fizz and a lip tingling mineral blast.

This really makes me feel like I'm drinking something uniquely Scottish, developed from the ancient soil and fresh water of the British Isles. Very good stuff indeed.

I like your description. I am growing more and more impressed with this one. I will probably have to pick up a new bottle next time I visit a place where it isn't overpriced by 25 dollars

R

Nose: Scents of the sea--brine, kelp, creosote pylons, wet sand. Also a bit of vegetive notes and a slight hint of celery and mushroom soup.

Palate: Hints of toffee, butter brickle, floral notes, bonny heather, ghost of sherry, white cake, and a touch of tequila that reminded me of Longrow CV a wee bit.

Finish: Where'd the toffee go? Creosote, camphor, rosemary, boot polish, bees wax, cereal notes.

I was disappointed with the dram I ordered at The Savoy Tavern in Portland. It didn't live up to my expectations. Where was the sherry? I found it nearly undetectable. Oh well. The glass was also a bit expensive, and for good reason; a bottle of the Springbank 12 Cask sells for nearly $100 in Portland. Not worth it in my opinion.

@valuewhisky

Somewhat surprisingly (to me), this is a heavily-sherried whisky: 60% first-fill sherry cask and 40% refill sherry cask. That's quite a lot of sherry. And you know what? It's delicious with that moderate Springbank peatiness!

Nose: At first whiff this nose doesn't scream "delicious," but persistence pays off here and over the course of the dram, I am addicted to having my nose stuck in the glass. There's sherry aroma, of course, and underneath that you have banana, orange, smoke, and brine. A complex nose for me: one I have to keep thinking about but never quite get my arms around (a good thing!).

Palate: Lots of "zing" from the high proof. Rich, syrupy mouthfeel. Sherry, orange, smoke, and saltiness. Very nice! It's sweet from all the sherry, but the smoke provides the appropriate counterpoint and I find this to have a nice balance.

Finish: The only "off" note in this whisky shows up in the early finish: a funky/sour/puke-like note. Don't get me wrong - it's not a game-changer here, but it does hold this back from being a truly great whisky. The sour puke note lingers on the back of the tongue a bit, but the stronger notes are smoke, and finally getting some oak here in the extended finish.

I really enjoy this whisky. It was a great deal at under $60 (USD). The nose is very intriguing and nice, the palate is delicious and despite the sour finish, it leaves you salivating and ready for more (take another sip to wash away the sour note!). Highly recommended when at a reasonable price. Honestly with the smoke and sherry, this reminds me a bit of Uigeadail. However, Uigeadail is the better whisky so if Springbank approaches Uigeadail prices, then go for the Ardbeg. For me Springbank was $20 less than Uigeadail, and I wouldn't hesitate at all to buy it again at that price.

Very nice review, much like I felt about this whisky. I just opened my bottle and despite my batch being of course different, with just 52,2 ABV, I feel exactly the same about modest nose but great spicy palate and long lasting finish. And yes, there is some off-putting bitter/sour note in the finish. Not a deal breaker though, I think it's delicious whisky indeed!

Thanks for the comment, Max! I think the bitter/sour note is characteristic for Springbank; I also noted it in my bottle of CV.

@MaltActivist

At a mighty 57% the Springbank is an immediate eye-opener (and I mean that literally!). A lot of citrus on the nose (lime zest, orange peel) mingled with a curious case of burnt sugar. This was of course transported to our noses on the back of unadulterated fumes emanating from the spirit! The palate was remarkably smooth given the ABV and I suspect some ripe fruits and raisins found their way in there. And the finish? Well, I guess I'll let you know when it finishes.

Excellent! This is my favourite Springbank (so far...I have an 18 year old in the cabinet I haven't cracked yet!)

@talexander

My daughter and I had a fantastic Family Day weekend with my parents (and my brother and his family came by as well), we all went skating, had some great meals and, of course, drank like hell; always an Alexander tradition. I brought along this bottle, having never tried it. I was very impressed.

It's a lovely dark honey colour, with thick legs in the glass. On the nose, you are first hit by very sharp sea salt, and interestingly, it is peaty without being smoky. There is dark citrus (like a blood orange) and buttered burnt toast. Water tames the peat and brings out the malt, and adds a dark Christmas pudding scent.

The palate is a wonderful explosion in your mouth - white pepper and cumin, also minty. It has such a creamy mouthfeel, and water makes that more so, adding honey, vanilla and more orange.

The finish is long and lingering, and very briny. Balance is a wee bit off - there is a lot going on here, it is very complex, but the sweet and the salty don't quite gel together. But I still love this Scotch. It is like all of the great qualities of the Springbank 10 but increased exponentially, as you would hope from a cask strength (and an extra two years maturation). My dad (who is more of a Speyside fan) didn't like it much, but my mom (who is NOT a whisky drinker) tried it and loved it, and she now wants to try more varied whiskies (I've made another convert!)

I'm becoming a big fan of Campbeltown whiskies, though I've only had 2 (and both Springbank) - they don't seem that far removed from Islays. But I am a sucker for that combination of spice, malt, and the spray of sea salt - it's as if I can picture the geography immediately upon tasting. I also have a bottle of Hazelburn CV (same distillery, as I believe there is only the one in Campbeltown now), which I am now even more eager to try.

That was a great dram. Unfortunately there is none available at LCBO.

I picked up a bottle of a different batch (58.5% or something like that). I'm not sure where the batch numbers are listed. It's a bit rough. A challenging dram, but very similar to the way my last bottle started out. I may need to leave it for a few months now like last time. I think the quality is in there, and it will try yo get a spare through my brother in law.

I hear they are discontinuing the 12YO CS in favour of a 10.... Shame

hahah, i've made my fair share of missions for bottles, especially discontinued ones. if you're willing to wait a few days for a bottle, however, your local lcbo store should be able to transfer stuff in. there are a couple close to my work that been glad to help.

@dbk

Few distilleries merit the term ‘traditional’ these days. Appealing to tradition has become a pervasive scheme by which large beverage conglomerates market their brands, but it glosses over a great deal of the modernised, mechanised world of today’s whisky production. The Springbank distillery, however, is the archetypal exception.

Springbank performs all of its own floor maltings. It regulates the malting temperature by the use of window shutters. Its washbacks are made of larch. (The larch. The larch.) The wash still works by open fire and steam coils. Uniquely, Springbank is distilled 2.8 times; the heavily peated Longrow and the unpeated Hazelburn, also produced by Springbank, are distilled twice and three times, respectively.

The core Springbank range consists of the 10, 15, and 18 year-old expressions, but there are also numerous single cask, vintage, NAS, and ACEd expressions, as well as some stately elder releases. Among these alternatives is the 12 year-old cask strength release, reviewed here.

The nose is classic Springbank: sweet, creamy, and malty, with coconut, butterscotch, cereal grain, and a touch of peat smoke. Initially, upon opening the bottle, I found notes of marshmallows and a hint of something metallic, but both have since subsided.

The palate is again sweet, rich Springbank malt, reminiscent of malted milk or rice pudding. There is tropical fruit (pineapple, perhaps?), bittersweet cocoa, sherry, coconut, smoke, a hint of salt, and menthol on the finish.

The 12 year-old cask strength is another remarkable malt from Springbank. It took some time to open up, but once it did, it opened up beautifully.

Good to see Monty Python in a review.

Glad you noticed, @Nozinan! :)

@Megawatt

I spent a pretty penny on this, my first bottle of Springbank. I was expecting something challenging, and here's what I got:

The aroma is one of the most complex I've yet encountered. It hits you immediately with a musty dankness and creamy sweetness. I think of chocolate pudding, orange-flavoured chocolate, and grape. Very intense and sweet, which is in keeping with its sherry maturation (a combination of first-fill and refill casks). Also there is a salty note, a smoky note, a grassy note...so much going on. Very impressive.

The whisky explodes onto the palate, hitting all the buttons: sweet, salty, hot, sour. The fruit and salty chocolate flavours unfold...and then the sourness takes over. This is where I feel let down. It is a sort of rubbery taste that fills the mouth. Could it be sulphur from the casks? I've read that first-fill sherry is known for this.

This rubbery taste is all that's left by the time you've reached the finish. It's too bad because it gets off to such an explosive start. I don't find it entirely unbalanced, because the funky finish is hinted at in the nose, and might even be desirable for some. But for me, it would have been better if the initial flavours developed more.

There were times when I really enjoyed drinking it with an ice cube. But more often than not, the experience was marred by that rubbery taste. However several whisky critics gave this bottle high marks while noting its burnt-match flavours, so maybe it is just me. I would recommend trying it first.

Incidentally, I also recently tried Glenfarclas 15 and it was even worse. Lovely whisky until the flavour starts to fade; then it leaves a nasty bitterness that you can't get rid of. I don't know what the deal is. It was great up until then. Again, others don't seem to notice so maybe it's me.

From what I've read, what you're describing would be a heightened sensitivity to sulphur notes. It seems like some people like it/tolerate the profil, others are fine with certain versions of sulphur but don't like others (i.e. a 'matchsticks' presentation vs. a '(burned/melting) rubber' note), while others recoil at any variation of a sulphur presence. I have yet to experience it as I don't believe anything in my cabinet is known for a sulphur presence. There are some bottles (i.e. Glenfarclas 15, Ledaig 10, and (I think) Longrow CV) that are on my wishlist, which are known for a sulphur presentation.

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