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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Single Malt Report: Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength, Batch 7 (50.3%abv)

I'll now follow Tuesday's Batch 6, with Batch 7 today.  This batch seems to be the one on the shelf now in the US.  As I mentioned in the previous post, most of these "cask strength" Springbank 12s have relatively low ABVs, with this one being the lowest of all.  It's basically a 12 year 100 proof.  I liked Batch 6 a lot, let's see how Batch 7 fares.  Thank you to smokypeat for this sample!

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Age: 12 years
Maturation: a 60/40 mix of first-fill and refill sherry casks
Region: Campbeltown
Alcohol by Volume: 50.3%
Batch: 7

On a side note, it's been a long night of baby-related drama.  When I wrote these tasting notes they were coherent, but my lucidity is evaporating so I apologize if my typing descends into gibberish.

The color is a rosy gold, darker and redder than batch 6.  The nose leads off with barbecued seaweed, matchstick sulphur, and mellow sherry.  The peat note that gradually develops is ashier than the usual Springbank peat.  This is followed by hints of fresh thyme and Dove soap.  With time, the whisky gets mossier, dirtier, and grimier.  Much more prune emerges as well.  The palate has a big salty bite.  The peat and dry sherry commingle well, though they seem rather quiet and closed.  A hint of dryer sheets keeps appearing.  With time, the palate gets tangier (or more orangey) and a mild herbal bitterness shows up.  Pepper and salt lead the finish, followed by peeps of sherry, ash, and sulphur.  The bitterness grows.

WITH WATER (approx. 46%abv)
A lot of toffee appears in the nose.  Maybe smoked toffee pudding.  Caramel, vanilla, mild peat smoke, and rubber bands follow up.  Very little outright sherry.  A hint of citron.  Gunpowder and oloroso grows in the palate, followed by dried cherries and apricots.  Lots of sugar.  Tangy tangerines, mossy peat, and flat Vernors ginger ale.  The finish gets sweeter with sort of a lollipop aftertaste.  A hint of fresh tobacco meets pepper and lemon.

Water helps this out a lot, opening the palate up a bit and giving the nose that toffee pudding note I do adore.  I'm not terribly impressed with it when neat; in fact, the sulphur note is its more interesting element.  Air also improves it in its neat state, somehow bringing out its bolder rougher elements.

While Batch 7 is decent stuff, I enjoyed #6 much more.  If 7 is the only batch that's available to you, then I recommend airing it out and experimenting with water application.  There are good elements within, they just need to be freed.

(For more positive reviews see smokypeat's, Serge's, and whiskybase.)

(UPDATE 12/121/14: My Annoying Opinions reviewed this same batch.  See his review here!)

Availability - Some specialty retailers
Pricing - $75-$95
Rating - 83 (with air and water, a few points lower without)