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Springbank 1997 12 Year Old Claret Wood

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 91

Springbank 1997 12 Year Old Claret Wood

Product details

  • Brand: Springbank
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 54.4%
  • Age: 12 year old
  • Vintage: 1997
  • Bottled: 2010

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Springbank 1997 12 Year Old Claret Wood

I saw this the other day in the store, and was intrigued because I had not tried anything from Springbank before, even though all of their standard bottlings from the 10 to the 15 and 12 cask strength etc are always there for a good price. This bottling look interesting and a few reviews online said it was relatively uncommon to see it and that it was quite scrumptious, so I went for it!

Nose: really powerfully sweet, and slightly smoky nose. There is caramel and toffee and other rich flavours. I don't know how else to describe it except incredibly balanced and very very good.

Palate: It gets really interesting here; the nose promises more smoke than is actually present! There is smoke and ash but only as an additive to the wide range of sweet and spicy flavours that were present in the nose. Nothing dominates and it all comes together for a powerful crescendo.

Finish: The finish lingers, with a surpirsing nuttiness! The smoke dissipates and leaves you with a sweet nutty flavour that lasts, like pecan pie almost but more bitter... So good!

Over all this is a superb whisky, and if you see it you need to buy it! The label says they bottled about 9300 bottles.

I must agree with you. Though, when I first opened the bottle and drank it next to the regular cask strength version I was less impressed. Although I removed the oxygen from the bottle, a few months later I tried it and it is fabulous. If I ever see another bottle I will definitely snap it up

Yeah, this release was great. I hope they do another sometime.

It was sweet from the claret maturation, but in a way totally unlike a sherry bomb. Much more of an edge to it, which I love.


My last whisky review was of the Springbank 11 yr old Madeira Wood Cask Strength that I'd recently tried with my wife, brother and sister in law. We'd go to Helvetica, the local whisky bar, to try some new whiskies.

Specifically in my case some new Campbeltown whiskies.

Not having tried a decent selection of Campbeltown whiskies I was keen to expand my experiences in that area.

I'd purchased the Springbank Madeira Wood while my brother in law got the Springbank Claret Wood.

We all enjoyed the Madeira immensely, but now it was the Claret Woods turn!

Now for the record if I recall correctly this was the point where my brother in law informed me that he'd never tried a Campbeltown until the Madeira Wood.

But if many of them were in the same league as that bad boy, he'd be happy to buy a few bottles.

Time for the Claret Wood!

We pass the glencairn glass back and forth to one another, everyone nosing the glass and then tasting it. There is a lot of grinning around the table.

It's my turn now!

The nose is nothing short of awesome!

Coal smoke, raisins, butterscotch, caramel, raspberries, melons, honey, figs and hints of chocolate.


Just wow.

I can't wait to try this bad boy out!

I take a sip and bam!

Flavors explode across my palate!

Raspberries, vanilla, caramel, apples, raisins, orange peel, sea brine, nutmeg, cinnamon, wow, wow, wow and at the end a hint of smoke.

That is a big whisky!

Delicious and big!

The finish is spicy with nutmeg and pepper with smoke at the very end of the palate.

Awesome, complex whisky!

Yeah if more Campbeltowns are like this bad boy we'll definitely be picking up some of these guys.

Hard to find though, limited numbers of Springbanks with wine finishes are available, and I've never seen one in a normal bottle shop.

However for $150 odd dollars, this is bloody good value for money so if you want a complex big whisky, grab it!


This is a Springbank limited release, distilled in May of 1997. It was matured in refill bourbon barrels, then finished in fresh claret (Bordeaux) casks for 3 years and then another 2 years in re-charred casks (to smooth out the wine influence).

Nose: immediately different. Rich, sirupy with a fresh, fruity side (redcurrant, raspberry, melon) but also a nice musty / coastal side. It even shows hints of coal smoke. Honey and figs. A little bit of mint. Hot sand? Reminiscent of the old Springbanks but in a modernized version. Very good and complex.

Mouth: sweet and earthy at the same time. Orange liqueur and herbs. Old leather. A little ginger and pine resin. Again it seems to be a mixture of different styles, but it works very well. It seems to become less expressive when you add water though.

Finish: long, slightly peppery with lingering fruits and a salty edge.

This is a big dram, with many layers and without any disturbing wine flavours. Giving whisky a third maturation after a wine cask is not a bad idea!

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