Springbank was awarded as Distillery of the Year at the last Milan Whisky Festival. The craftmanship of its production and its uncompromising philosophy (100% home-made malting process, extremely long fermentation, direct heat for one of the three stills, casks maturation in warehouses on site) are of course badges of honour. Today we taste the entry level, the Springbank 10 yo: it’s a vatting of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, lightly peated at 15 ppm. Springbank’s distillation process is unique in Scotland, because the whisky is “twice and a half” distilled. You can easily understand how it works thanks to this infographic.
N: two souls meet and fall in love. One is leaded by the sea breeze blowing on the coast of Campbeltown, wet soil and mineral peat without any smoke; the other one wears an orange dress and joins citrus edges (orange and tangerine) and vicious pleasures of peaches and Amaretto. Gorgeous whiffs of cereals and corn flakes. It changes in the glass, rarefied and luxurious.
P: the intensity is impressive and the body is wonderfully bold. Exactly as on the nose, it manages to be sharp and richly fruity at the same time. Immediately it explodes with tempting peaches and ripe apricots. A dash of orange juice and a lot of malt. It’s balanced by an intriguing sensation of salty soil, rocks on the coast. The spirit gloriously wins the battle over the casks.
F: the sweetness – full and fruity – is prolonged and speckled by pinches of salt.
Re-reading the review, it could maybe appear rather simple, but what makes the difference is this magic mix between flavors apparently incompatible, this unique wedding of sweet and salty that we call simply Springbank: 90/100. Serge talks about an exceptional “spirit driven” whisky and we agree. Of course, the tertiary notes are detectable, but main stage is all for the spirit, enhanced by the casks’ influence. What we look for in whisky is complexity, edges, contrasts, oxymorons: in this bottle we find all we need to be happy. Final note: at the Milan Whisky Festival this malt was really appreciated by visitors (and the value for the price is great).
Recommended soundtrack: King Crimson – Starless