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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, and in 1897 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 the only distillery in Scotland where the entire process is conducted on site from floor malting to bottling. This particular expression was distilled on 26 May 1970, matured in ex-sherry casks and bottled in September 2007 from cask no. 1,344 by The Secret Treasures, the total outturn being 489 bottles.
The nose starts off with sweet smoke, then becomes quite fruity with flavours of prune, apricots and marzipan all coming to the fore, followed by a touch of liquorice.
The palate is full-bodied and mouth coating. The prune flavours are back, together with lemons and apricots. There are distinct sherry notes, while wood spice makes itself felt but keeps a low profile.
The finish is of medium length, warming, and quite floral.
So far I have not had the opportunity to try many older Springbanks and this bottling surprised me with its lushness and astonishingly floral nature. While the nose provided for a pleasant start, the real surprise was the palate that was very rich, provided an excellent interplay between sherry and lemon notes, and was altogether superbly balanced – I find it fascinating that all this was achieved with an ABV of just 43% and one cannot but wonder what a higher percentage might have produced. Lastly, the finish proved to be another interesting experience with floral notes of an intensity that reminded me of Rosebank. I did not add any water to this as it was just perfect without. An excellent single malt from Springbank!