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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Single Malt Report: Springbank 12 year old 1990 Sherry Wood

This 12 year old Springbank was distilled the year after the distillery restarted, using barley from a different supplier since their own malting floors had not yet reopened. It's part of the old Wood Expressions series seems to have been replaced by the Longrow Red range and the occasional alternative cask Springbank release. The bottle count from this bottling was significantly more limited than the distillery's current limited editions. I'd never even seen this one until I spied it on a friend's shelf. Many thanks to Mr. Perkins for this sample!

(On a related note, I tried Springbank 13yo 1989 Port Wood while in Scotland this year. It's a very nice dessert whisky and the port pipes never get out of hand. It's on par with, if not better than, the better known 16yo 1991 Rum Wood.)

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Age: 12 years (1990 - June 2003)
Maturation: "Sherry Butts"
Limited release: 1799 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 52.4%

Its color is darker than the 12yo CSes. The nose is very fruity, exotic stuff (to Ohio, at least), especially lychee and papaya. There's toffee, a lot of buttery caramel, whiffs of peat and grass, and woody smoke. The sherry notes (prunes and dark chocolate) are subtle. There's toffee, peat and a peppery zing to the palate. More classic dried fruits here than in the nose. Kinda of a sherry, ginger and rock candy cocktail. Hints of peach and pencil lead. Buttery caramel and tart citrus. The finish is sherry, orange syrup, root beer barrel candies and an ethyl buzz. It's the sweetest, simplest and hottest part of the experience.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose has toffee, caramel, malt and mint leaves. Very little sherry action, no peat. Ah, but the sherry shows up in the palate, mostly as dried fruit. There are menthol and tart citrus notes, as well as a bit of smoke. It's all quite mild. It finishes with prunes, raisins, salt, and that's it.

This one starts off great and gradually sinks as it goes, ending with a lackluster finish. There's an odd American oak weight to it all. The peat and sherry seem to be burdened with existential struggles, never knowing where or when they are. When they do show up it's in sudden bursts followed by sudden absences. And that's when they do show up. They regularly miss their call times in the nose. Okay, enough crap metaphors. It's a good whisky that had promise of being much better. When tried next to the first batch of the 12yo CS series, its flaws are more pronounced. On its own, it's better.

Availability - 
Maybe the secondary market?

Pricing - ???
Rating - 83