It's time to revisit my favorite little craft distillery, perched on the edge of Campbeltown Loch towards the bottom of the Mull of Kintyre in the Southwest of Scotland. I've written all about Springbank's history in the past, so I refer you my review of the standard 10-year-old bottle if you would be curious.
Since 2010, Springbank each year releases a 12-year-old cask strength edition. The one we'll try today is the 2017 edition, Batch 15, which has an ABV of 56.5%. 70% of the wood used to produce this baby were ex-sherry casks. Without further hesitation, let's dive straight into it!
Springbank 12-year-old, Cask Strength - Batch 15
Age: 12 years old
Cask type: 70% Sherry & 30% Bourbon Casks
Average Price: ~85 USD
Natural color & non-chill filtered
Nose: A beautifully classic Springbank character with a slightly rough and 'gritty' peat and iodine background. An unmistakable peat character that only Springbank has really, which complements their clean and delicate spirits so perfectly. All the aromas rest on a nice bed of vanilla spiced with cocoa. Also a large amount of fresh fruit, where pear is at the forefront. In addition, there are shades of sugary (candied) exotic fruits. The sherry casks make themselves known with musty root cellar aromas together with raisins and figs deep down. Dark chocolate and hints of leather after a while of aeration. Perhaps even some anise and licorice. Cocky but round.
Palate: An oily mouth-feel which is round and lovely. Again vanilla at the base, with peppery elements. A clear nuance of rich orange marmalade and candied apples. Tropical fruits (cantaloupe) followed by raisins and figs. Suddenly, lemon peel enters the palate which lingers on into the finish.
Finish: Long and wonderfully intense with plenty of peat. In addition to the lemon, there's leather, oaky bitterness and salty liquorice.
Conclusion: Yes, Springbank is one of my absolute favorite distilleries, which is apparent in my reviews of their releases. But every time I try something from Springbank (including Longrow and Hazelburn), I'm reminded why whisky is one of my great passions. It's bold, it's genuine and it's love. In addition, knowing that all of the steps of the production has taken place in Campbeltown at the distillery makes me warm and happy. No cheating, nothing fake and nothing artificial - just pure love and artisanship. Water carefully, a few drops turn this Springbank into a masterpiece. It might not be super complex, but who cares when it's this beautiful? A well deserved score of 94 points out of a 100.