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Springbank CV

Average score from 8 reviews and 8 ratings 82

Springbank CV

Product details

  • Brand: Springbank
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%

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Springbank CV

I have tried previous batches of Springbank CV and must say, I was not impressed. A good whisky, sure, but far from outstanding for this legendary Campbeltown distillery. But when a 2013 release sample is dropped into the mailbox, what do you do? Exactly. Give it another go. The nose of this batch is promising. Soft, sweet smoke and barley sugars, herbal notes and some wet chalk. I get some orange peel, nuts, white chocolate and hazelnuts. Some mint in the background. It is oily and very spicy. The chalk becomes quite loud, as if I’m tasting it from a jug. Both sherry and bourbon traits, that much is certain. Raisins, oranges, woodspice, green garden herbs and a salty note. The smokiness is not big, but unmistakably there. The finish offers up a surprising hint of candied pineapple. Where did that come from? But it certainly is pleasant. Well, the 2013 batch was much more to my liking than the previous ones I tried (2010 and 2015).


It has been almost 5 years since I last tried the Sprintbank CV. Thank to my friend Pat I can now give the 2015 bottling a go. Oh, right, CV is short for Chairman’s Vat and is a mix of different vintages of Springbank, about 70% matured on bourbon casks and 25% on sherry casks. The final 5% went into port casks. Just so you know.

The nose is soft on both sweet and herbal notes. Sweet malt, orange peel, raisins and sniffing tobacco go hand-in-hand with fresh planks, cod oil and a touch of smoke. But it seems a bit nervous, you see? It seems undecided whether it wants to be herbal or sweet. Goes up and down like a yo-yo.

Nicely oily and spicy on the palate. The sweetness comes first now. The raisins and mostly oranges return, in a peppery jacket, followed by sweet peat. Midpalate it turns somewhat brackish. Sweet and silt fight for supremacy. Mildly unbalanced in my humble (wtf?) opinion.

The finish is long and bittersweet, only to leave the mouth completely dry.

Not bad at all, but not my favorite Springbank by far.


I had once tasted the Longrow CV with rather good impressions, and when I ran into this Springbank version at a whisky shop in London’s Soho, I decided to give it a try. I was told that the Longrow CV is a vatting of 6, 10 and 14 year old whiskys matured in bourbon, sherry and rum barrels (don’t know which for how long though). I suspect this Springbank is a similar case.

In the nose you will immediately notice that there is more than one type of cask involved. The most identifiable notes are those of sweet exotic fruits and subtle smoke. A few drops of water and a good 15 minutes under a cover in the glass will emphasize the fruitiness and the smoke will settle to the background. Now you can start to pick more distinct aromas: overly ripe banana, some oaky barley and faint nutty elements as well, almonds perhaps. Somehow this nose reminds me of a South East Asian market, with people roasting the most peculiar things on open fire and selling freshly picked exotic fruit.

The palate is a remarkably identifiable copy of the nose, same aromas coating the mouth pleasantly and smoothly. The arrival is steadily growing, but the development of flavors is unfortunately a bit short. The sweet fruity notes are more mixed together, combined with the barley sugar and smoke.

The finish is also quite swift. It doesn’t die suddenly, but it quickly fades away leaving the faint smoky aromas on the tongue. I think the finish really reveals that most of this whisky is fairly young. Don’t know it for a fact but that’s what I would suspect.

All in all it’s not a bad whisky, especially for the price (I think I paid around 40€ for this). It’s not the most complex whisky out there, and the cask influence is heavy here leaving little room for the distilled spirit. I would maybe recommend this to a whisky drinker who hasn’t yet been into whiskies for too long, but wants to try something new after the good’ol Ardbeg 10 and Glenfiddich. It’s smooth, a bit different and not too complex.


I was already a fan of Springbank. Something that tastes like an Island whisky from Campbeltown was always a nice one to vary from the peaty and smoky ones. This C.V. is easier than the 10yo. You can smell the smoke and the peat, but it also has a little citrus and a little bit of dried fruits. The taste is a little bit like dark sugar,some caramel, a little bit of orange and then the smoke starts coming in. No really overwhelming smoke but a bit subtle. And yet, that's what lingers and stays on your tongue. Not bad for what's a bit of a budget-version of the 10yo.

Mikey, thanks for making some comparisons to the 10. How else would you distinguish them?

I've had the 10 but not the CV. The CV typically gets average reviews like this one, but if you said it was more vibrant but less complex--kinda like young heavily peated whisky--I'd be all over it. Zippy, briny, Campbeltown-town style whisky is a prime target of mine.

Hi OIJas, I just saw your comment, sorry it took a while. In my experience it's not realy briny nor really peated, but more of a toned down version of the 10yo. There is some smoke and some peat, but not very heavy. I hope this helps you.


When I was in Chicago a while back I picked up the Springbank Trio of CV’s. Basically, this was three bottles of 200mL each of Springbank CV, Longrow CV, and Hazleburn CV. Here is my impression of the Springbank

Nose: Soot mixed with barley and corn. There is malt here with some peat, but it is the burnt smell that dominates. It kind of reminds me of my grandfather’s animal feed bin . . . but with some smoke. Now I am getting mahogany and sweet brown sugar. Extremely different from my last nosing.

Taste: Salt and sweet, mixed with oak, peat and tire.

Finish: Kind of watery finish then a k-pow from the failing embers of a peat fire. Like one of the big 3 Islay South shore monsters, but with a very subdued punch. The salt seems to last for ages. It has this interesting start to the finish where you think it will fizzle. Then all of the sudden an explosion of smoke . . . that isn’t quite as big as I was hoping for. Still, it is nice smoke and peat with a hint of rubber tire. At the tail end there is a little bit bubblegum?

Balance, Complexity: Have to give it points for complexity, but not as much for balance. It just has all of these random things happening from nowhere.

Aesthetic experience: Pale straw: lighter then the Hazelburn. I love the whole Cambletown thing that Springbank does. I really want to like Springbank. Just wish I liked what was in the bottle a bit more.

Conclusion: I won’t be re-buying this bottle. I have gone through a few bottles of Springbank 10yo. My next bottle will hopefully be a Cask Strength Springbank . . . see if that is more my speed.


What I mean by the title is that this whisky is young - so therefore pretty cheap - but it's bottled at 46% without artificial colour or chill-filtration. No, it's not going to knock your socks off, it's not going to win any awards. But, sometimes I want a good scotch that's cheap! I don't need an award winning scotch every night, but don't make me drink watered-down, artificially coloured junk when I can't or don't want to spend the money on the high-end stuff. So I say, thank you Springbank for offering CV for an affordable price.

Nose: Overall pleasant. Being young, you do detect a fair amount of "spiritiness," but not in a cheap-booze kind of way. More like in a good, young whisky kind of way. There's also some fruitiness reminiscent of red wine. Those two tones dominate the nose: grain and fruit. Adding depth are briny notes and a hint of smoke. The smoke gains traction as the dram goes down and is most detectable in the empty glass. This isn't an award winning nose, but still all pleasant and worth nosing.

Palate: An excellent, thick, and textured mouthfeel. Very spirity once again in that it does attack the tongue. No awards for smoothness, but I'll take a feisty whisky over smooth any day of the week! There is not a huge flavor density to this whisky, but the flavors mirror the nose with grain, red-wine fruit, and brine being the dominant sensations and smoke along for the ride.

Finish: Fruit, brine, and a little smoke. The only real "off" note in the whisky appears in the finish; a slight sour note like buttermilk. Not enough to bother me, but enough to hold this whisky back from competing with the top-tier 10-12 year old malts (this does, however, beat many low- and mid-tier 10-12 year malts!).

Overall if I were to compare Springbank CV to something that is more ubiquitous, I would compare it to Highland Park 12 (one of my favorites). It has better zip and mouthfeel than HP12, but lacking in flavor density with less fruitiess than HP12. Overall, despite the "craft" presentation that I love and that really makes a difference (i.e. 46%, no colour, no chill-filter), it's really not as good as HP12. I paid less for this than I do for HP12, and at that price I would buy it again. If I had to pay the same price as HP12 or more, I would probably pass unless I was just really looking to support a classy distillery like Springbank.


Springbank distillery is located on the southern Kintyre peninsula and produces three distinct types of single malt: Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn. Springbank is lightly smoky, Longrow is very smoky and Hazelburn is not smoky at all. The Springbank CV version was first released in 2010 and, as is the case with the Longrow CV and Hazelburn CV, the “CV” stands for “Curriculum Vitae” since - according to Springbank's Kate Wright - "it contains whiskies of a variety of ages...". The Springbank CV is a marriage of whiskies matured in bourbon, sherry and port casks.

The nose is sweet, light and grassy. It is all a bit non-descript, with notes of lemon and apples faintly coming through but only just faintly. There is also an oily touch (like in olive oil) a whiff of smoke, rather subdued as in very weak coal smoke. Not an impressive beginning, to say the least.

The palate is light-bodied but quite peppery. Apples and vanilla now make a more accentuated appearance, together with notes of caramel.

The finish is of medium length, with brine, pepper and more smoke coming through.

I was a bit taken aback by the nose which I found to be both bland and confusing. Things improved with the nose where, I suppose, the sherry and port casks made themselves felt. In my opinion this is a likeable but by no means an impressive single malt.


The Springbank CV (and CV is Chairman’s Vat, trust me) is a vatting of 7, 10 and 14 year old Springbank. In the mix you’ll find about 70% bourbon, 25% sherry and 5% port cask matured whisky. I first tried it at a tasting in Ghent, hosted by Springbank’s lovely Jenny Carlsson in October 2010. High time to try it again, in depth.

The nose is a overwhelming mix of aromas. First, subdued sweet sherry (orangettes, raisins, tobacco, roasted almonds) with a hint of mint and liquorice. But soon this is all covered in a layer of almost sulphury smoke, wet stones and codliver oil. Finally some rough grains and fresh wood shavings. I guess each cask has its say, but in the end it is quite the cacophony.

The attack, which is quite oily, is fairly sweet. Again, the sherry pipes up first. Orange peel, raisins, caramel, wood spice. Luckily the sherry also speaks the loudest. The subtle peat peeks around the corner and midpalate you will also taste some brine. Nice spices.

The finish is rather long and drying and ends pretty bitter.

Legend has it that the casks were selected in person by Master Distiller Distiller good ol’ Frank McHardy and Distillery Manager Stuart Robertson. I wonder if they consulted each other. While the palate makes up for a lot, the nose was truly a strange mix.

Hey Mark

the title 'cacophony' says you don't like this one so much I guess. Just read/heard some good stuff about it, weird that this one is the only review here. I am most likely going to buy the CV-pack, including the 3 Springbank CV's (Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow). Did your lovely Springbank presenter told you, that CV stands for Chairman's Vat? I heard it says Curriculum Vitae. Don't know if you understand some german, I'll just post the resource: youtube.com/watch/…

Btw is it true, that Springbank is the only distillery which is completely independent, growing and malting their own barley, bottling by their own and so on. Or are there similar distilleries?


Wills, I have heard the Curriculum Vitae story before, but I have been told by two Springbank reps now that it actually stands for Chairman's Vat. Cacophony does not mean I did not like it (it scores an 86 which is actually very high), it just means that it was a mixed bag of scents that seems not to fit together, but that does not necessarily mean it is a bad whisky. Far from it, in fact.

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