Springbank 12 Cask Strength

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Reviewed on reddit on 03/07/15

I posted my notes on the Springbank 16 year old Local Barley bottling a few days ago but didn’t feel right not posting notes for a real classic. This is one of Springbank’s core expressions, their 12 year old, always gloriously bottled at cask strength. This bottle, from batch #003, was a birthday gift from the girlfriend, but sadly it is all finished now.

I really like cask strength bottlings, aside from getting more bang for your buck, it really does improve on flavour deliver and eliminates the need to chill-filter the whisky. My very first cask strength bottle was a Glengoyne 12 year old cask strength (sadly replaced a few years ago by an NAS edition), but that was long before I started taking notes unfortunately. But I was really surprised at how drinkable it was without much dilution and how much extra flavour was packed into it.

This expression is young enough to really feel the distillate but old enough to benefit from the excellent quality casks Springbank uses. This is a small batch release so their is variation from batch to batch, but at least in Springbank’s case their operation is small enough to justify this.

Many larger distilleries are also starting to have a lot more batch variation than before (something that I learned the hard way in our local blind tasting competition), this could be because they have less stock to draw from for their core expressions due to putting out more ‘special’ releases and older expressions , or because people are willing to pay more for the brand than the whisky and just don’t care.

Aged 12 years. 55.3%ABV. No colour added and non-chill filtered. Bottled as cask strength.

Nose: Dried fruits. Espresso. Cacao. Vegetal peat. Mineral salt. Mild olive oil. Black pepper, freshly crushed. Wet grass. Matches. Camphor. Wood smoke becomes more prominent with water.

Palate: Horseradish type spice, like wasabi. Dark sticky fruits, dry not sweet. Toasted almonds. Butter on burned toast. Peat. Bitter, dry citrus. Lapsang souchong tea. Cigar ash. Bitter chocolate. Fruit notes become slightly sweeter with water.

Finish: Long. More lapsang souchong. Tobacco Smoke. Pepper. More bitter dark fruits, some black cherries coming through. Long bitter dry woody note.

Rating: Buy this

Global VFM: 3/5

Local VFM: N/A

This is a huge whisky, full of body and many flavours. Some lovely herbal notes, burned notes, and some really nice dark fruit and coffee flavours, and they don’t all hit at once, they’re quite well woven into several layers that gradually open up. This is one of those drams every whisky fan should try at least once. Unfortunately the price has been climbing quite steadily over the last 2 years or so, but for now still worth buying a bottle.

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