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Monday, December 19, 2016

Single Malt Report: Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength, batch 1 (54.6%abv)

Okay, I'm going to finish out 2016 with two weeks of Springbank. Our Campbeltown experience was one of the highlights of our Scotland trip this year. I'm not 100% sure which Springbanks I'm going to pick, but I think I'm going to start with a foursome of 12 year olds (sorry no 12yo 100proof, unless you would like to send me a sample), then switch to (SPOILER ALERT!) some non-12-year-old ones. Some will be relevant. Some will not. You know, the usual. But this time, it's Springbank.

First up it's the inaugural batch of Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength, bottled in 2010. Six years later they're on batch #13. May they never stop. Sherry cask Springbank is a nice thing.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Age: minimum 12 years
Maturation: a 60/40 mix of first-fill and refill sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 54.6%
Batch: 1
Release year: 2010
(Sample acquired via a swap with Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail. Thanks, Jordan!)

The nose is free of ethyl burn, but full of peated peaches, 3 Musketeers bar (milk chocolate and nougat) and ginger ale. Slight buttery note, a hint of tar. Almonds and limes. The palate changes gears nicely: fresh white fruit → rich sherry cask. Sort of like a lightly-peated Glendronach 15. Moderately dark chocolate, cayenne pepper and a lovely fruity sweetness. A little bit of barley and ginger ale in the back. The sweet finish has loads of raisins, currants and dried berries. Orange candy and smoky cherries.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose gets more herbal. Lots of mint leaves and fresh ginger. Canned peaches and a whiff of peat smoke. Thick creamy toffee and butterscotch in the palate, with a berry compote. Roasted nuts and grains. Lime candy. The finish has a gingery buzz, lots of dried fruits from the sherry casks and a dusting of cocoa.

They really nailed the cask mix this first time out. And though I've tried only half of the Springbank 12 year old cask strength batches, this is my favorite. There isn't a hint of heat, despite the ABV. The sherry casks are restrained in the nose, but roar into the palate. The combination of fresh and dried fruits, chocolate, smoke, nuts and toffee is a complete joy. It's absolutely amphibious, traveling well in and out of water. Recommended, if you can find it anywhere.

Availability - Happy Hunting!
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90