Review: Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

12 years; First Fill and Refill Sherry Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Springbank (Campbeltown, Scotland)

This is a limited, yearly release, of a 12 year old Springbank bottled at cask strength, created from a mix of sherry casks - 40% from refill/reused sherry casks and 60% from first fill sherry casks. Also, non-chill filtered and natural colour.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: 2014 (53.2%)

  • Bottling Code: Springbank 12 Y/O 14/532

  • Bottling Date: 2014

The lightest hint of Sulphur here. Rich, heavy, waxy, with caramel, white pepper, baked apple, orange peel, cacao, intense raisins, dates, sea shells, fresh broccoli, Belgian endives – terrific complexity.

The palate is dark, smoky, waxy…in so many ways quite similar to the 10 year old, but bigger and a bit deeper. A bit of rancio comes through, with some raisin, fresh grape, and rich stewed fruits and spices. Almost a bit chutney like – suppose you simmered raisins, apples, and peaches in butter and lots of clove and cinnamon…it’s not a perfect description, but it is a bit of a picture of what you get here. Almonds on the finish. At times, even, there are flashes of more exotic spices – as if turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, black peppercorns – were all heated off in a frying pan to release their aromas.

Lightest bit of Sulphur on the end, which I generally don’t like at all, but it fits in a little to the peppery and dried fruit style of this. A terrific winter dram. The finish is spicy and smoky – cinnamon, clove, tannin, and smoke. A touch of oak, also, on the finish. And, some apple emerges amidst the smoke too in a wonderful way. Smoky oak on the finish. And malt.  Terrific. Full, and long.

An ultimate brooding malt. Also the strength is just right – it goes down, and as it does, it seems to coat your mouth, almost season it, in a way that builds and just makes it seem that the more you have, the more full the finish. It begs a second pour.

More complex and better balanced on the nose than the 10 y.o. Fits a cold winter night just right.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $116.