Category Archives: Springbank

Springbank 19 yo 1997-2017 (warehouse tasting)

Tasting: Springbank 19 yo 1997-2016 (warehouse tasting)

Springbank 19 yo 1997-2017 (warehouse tasting)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: hand bottled
Distilled: 09.05.1997
Bottled: 2016
Age: 19 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Recharred Sherry #606
Alcohol: 58,8%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

To mentally prepare for the Springbank festival in May, which I’ll attend, I think it’s time I tasted a “wee toon dram” again. How about this 19 yo from last year’s festival? Let’s take a look – and a sniff and taste!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 mahogany
The nose has a lot of power! wow! it’s a re-charred cask (hogshead?), so there’s no sherry left, this is all Springbank distillate and even more wood! The cask spices are immediately there up front – I’m guessing European oak! Cough lozenges, liquorice, cloves, allspice, gentian and a hint of wormwood. The typical Springbank smoke is there, but it really has to fight through the spices, you could easily miss it! The base is made up of burnt toffee, caramel, a whiff of old cigar box and the freshness of illicit cherry distillate with loads of cracked cherry stones in the mash. An aromatic powerhouse, not for the faint at heart!
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Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #16: Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)

Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: 11.2003
Bottled: 05.2016
Age: 12
Limitation: 10260 bottles
Casks: 1st fill Burgundy barrels
Alcohol: 53,5%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

So… we’ve had Madeira finished Finnish whisky yesterday, so let’s stay with wine finishes/maturations and pour a dram of a hugely popular Springbank from earlier this year.

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red gold
The nose opens with quite a lot of peat smoke for a Springbank whisky. I’ve had more subtle Longrow drams! Not that I’m complaining! Once you cut through the peat there’s the usual slightly salty note intermingled with fresh mint and a whiff of alcohol. Digging even deeper we finally arrive at the core of the whisky. Very noticeable wine cask influence. Sweet grapes, grape seeds, candied oranges and pineapples, pickled ginger, mango sorbet with lemon drizzled on top, fruity pipe tobacco and Swiss orange cough drops. Not an easy dram. Let’s check the palate:  Continue reading

Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 - 2016

Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 – 2016

Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 - 2016Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: September 1999
Bottled: January 2016
Age: 16 years
Limitation: 9000 bottles
Casks: 80% Ex-Bourbon, 20% Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 54.3%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
barley gold
Springbank Local Barley. Those three words make a malt lovers’ heart beat faster. The old bottlings are legendary and after many years of waiting a new edition is out, with four more to follow in the upcoming years. The barley was grown a few miles south of Campbeltown on Low Machrimore farm. The barley variety used was Prisma – not particularly often heard of these days and I’m glad they mention these little details because the influence of barley on the whisky is rarely talked about these days, but it does exist – just ask a homebrewer – and why would it be different for whisky? This dram was, of course, also malted, distilled, matured and bottled in Campbeltown. A 100% local product. Except for the glass, cork and box… Right, on to the whisky then!
The nose opens on the light, delicate and mineral side. Quite a lot of bourbon in the mix and I can’t help but think of the sublime bourbon matured Kilkerran for a second – they’re sisters in spirit, but different enough. Very well-integrated peat smoke, on the smokier side as far as Springbanks go. A delicate hint of non-vulgar vanilla with wet beach pebbles, sewing machine oil, aromatic red and green apples, sweet pears, pear peel, slightly green gooseberries and apricots with a hint of apricot distillate (including kernels). Continue reading

24 drams till Christmas tasting #4: Longrow 18 yo (2014 edition)

Longrow 18 yo (2014 edition)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014
Age: 18 years
Limitation: –
Casks: (mostly?) Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
amber
The nose just immediately makes me smile, which is usually a very good sign. A dark and layered dram. Let’s search for the peat first. Longrow peat levels can vary, as it’s a purely manual process on the traditional malt floors and aging for 18+ years does reduce the smoke levels. Just a hint of aromatic peat remains – blending in with cask spices and dark sherry notes. Salted toffee, treacle, dark milk chocolate, coffee beans, cocoa beans, vanilla pods with the innards scraped out, old leather jacket in granny’s wardrobe, a concentrate of very dry dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums). Not too sweet though, there’s also a dry sherry component (Oloroso?). This is pure, sexy, no-frills style.
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Longrow 12y 2002-2015 by Cadenhead's

Tasting: Longrow 12y 2002-2015 by Cadenhead’s

Longrow 12y 2002-2015 by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 2002
Bottled: April 2015
Age: 12 years
Limitation: 288 bottles
Casks: Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 53,1%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
amber
The nose opens a bit high on the alcohol at first, but this impression fades after a minute or two, revealing a rich and dark, oily, heavy dram. Motor oil, earthy dunnage warehouse floor, rich oak, almost burnt caramel, brine, creamy fudge, with peat smoke in the background – it really has a hard time fighting through all the heavy notes. Continue reading

Springbank 17 1996 - 2014 Potstill Edition

Tasting: Springbank 1996 17y Single Cask for Potstill Vienna

Springbank 17 1996 - 2014 Potstill EditionDram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling / Potstill Edition “Brianna’s Choice”
Distilled: 10.1996
Bottled: 07.2014
Age: 17
Limitation: 149 bottles
Casks: Refill Sherry Cask
Alcohol: 56%
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
red gold
The nose immediately reminds me of the 2015 Springbank 17 sherry wood I just tasted yesterday. It’s not the same, but the common denominator is the quite noticeable and similar wood influence on top of the signature Springbank saltiness. The wood influence, even though it is a refill cask, is dominating, making it hard to pick out the Springbank peat smoke. Continue reading

Springbank 17 Sherry Wood

Tasting: Springbank 17 Sherry Wood

Springbank 17 Sherry WoodDram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: 04.1997
Bottled: 01.2015
Age: 17
Limitation: 9120 bottles
Casks: Sherry wood (first fill butts, refill butts, hogsheads)
Alcohol: 52.3%
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
gold
The nose starts off with light and fragrant Springbank peat smoke, the signature salt note on a layer of noticeable cask spices with aromatic dark fruits in the background. Think of a puree of figs, dates, sweet dried apricots and plums.
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Tasting: Springbank Wood Expression Gaja Barolo 9y

springbank_gaja_barolo_9Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: February 2004
Bottled: October 2013
Age: 9 years
Limitation: 11.000
Price at the time of purchasing: 69€
Casks: 4 years refill bourbon, 5 years fresh Gaja Barolo casks
Alcohol: 54.7%
Unchillfiltered, no added colouring
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
dark, golden honey. The nose is noticeably different from the usual ex-bourbon or ex-sherry matured whiskies – the Gaja Barolo casks have done a good job at hiding most of the flavours from the initial ex-bourbon maturation and imparting their own style. Continue reading

Tasting: Hazelburn 2002-2014 12y by Cadenhead’s

Hazelburn 12 Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Springbank (special unpeated triple distillation)
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 2002
Bottled: July 2014
Age: 12
Limitation: 294 bottles
Cask: Bourbon Hogshead
Alcohol: 54,1%
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
Red Gold
The nose exhibits the same base character like the official 12-year-old Hazelburn I just tasted prior to this, but with a lot more cask influence. A light and fragrant base with notes of citrus, orange juice, orange oil, grapefruit, pepper, ginger and a dash of brine. Continue reading

Tasting: Hazelburn 12y

Hazelburn 12 Original BottlingDram data:
Distillery: Springbank (special unpeated triple distillation)
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: about 2014
Age: 12
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 46%
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
Gold
The nose is fresh, citrussy, delicate, just as you would expect from a triple distillation, a very rare production process these days. It is, however, only the distillate being light, you can tell it was matured in quality casks adding a nice layer of depth.
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