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Yesterday I wrote a review of the Springbank 18 Year Old, and mentioned that we had visited the distillery just this past May. But I had completely forgotten about the little mini they gave us at the end of the tour, and dug it out tonight! This is only available to distillery visitors - the label gives no information (except that it was bottled in 2013) - not even the ABV, though I suspect it is at the usual Springbankian 46%. So sorry to say - unless you actually visit - you will never obtain this.
The colour is a coppery gold. On the nose, those trademark Springbank notes of white pepper, strawberries and cream, and dusty peat. Similar to the 10 Year Old but quieter. Wet, smouldering campfire. Bandages. Lots of vanilla. Not a hugely distinctive nose - pretty much as expected - but classically Springbank, which can't be a bad thing. A wee drop of water gives it a yeasty, sourdough quality.
On the palate, underripe bananas, pears, some cayenne pepper, and more vanilla. More spicy, dusty peat weaves in and out amongst the fruits. Waxy mouth-feel. Water ups the cayenne and brings in some cumin.
A long, deep finish, smokier, with herbs such as lavender and sage. I expected a very standard Springbank - and from the nose, that's kind of what I got - but over time, as I enjoy it, it has it's own character. Definitely a younger variant from the 10 Year Old, it showcases the fruity spirit very nicely.