Springbank is a special distillery: it’s one of the three Campbeltown distilleries left (Campbeltown used to be Scotch capital at the end of 19th Century, with more than 25 distilleries); and it’s also a little fundamentalist in its production style. Springbank whisky (the distillery also produces Longrow and Hazelburn) is distilled two times and a half, made from barley peated at 12-15 ppm. Springbank is the only Scottish distillery fully malting its own barley on its floors: it’s completely self-sufficient. This 18 yo is the 2009 edition, the first 18 yo to enter in the core range. The label is blue, with laurel leaves surrounding the number 18: a poetic malt? Almost 20% of this whisky matured in ex-bourbon casks, the 80% in ex-sherry ones. The color is light copper.
N: the frequent sulphury notes are completely missing. The nose is very clean and fresh: a bag of citrus (ripe orange), some cinnamon and the typical sultanas. Gorgeous mixed stewed fruits: plum, apple, pear. There’s a bold, monolithic sweetness, almost annoying with its notes of warm and overripe fruit and a pronounced aroma of vanilla. Dark chocolate? After a while, scent of pipe (not tobacco, but pipe’s smoke indeed).
P: chocolate suddenly covers the mouth. Whiffs of coconut and vanilla (the American oak influence) and of dried fruits (maybe figs?). The red fruits flavor continues the sweetness experienced in the nose. Juicy, with a subtle and pleasant smokiness.
F: long and focused on red berries (even lychees?), evolving towards a dark bitterness of oak. Hazelnut. Nice.
You need time, with this whisky. After some minutes, it appears mouth-filling and coating. But at first it seems a little weak and too fresh for its age. Anyway, the wood always stays in the background. The bourbon influence is stronger than expected, but the interaction with the sherry part is well balanced. 86/100, for us, but Serge and Ruben liked it much more. Probably it’s due to the impressive Brora we tasted recently…
Recommended soundtrack: Asa – Be my man.