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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Single Malt Report: Springbank 12 year old 2003 Burgundy Casks

Where I was when this whisky came out? Somehow I missed its announcement and arrival. I'm quite seriously the only person on the planet who adored the Longrow 14yo Burgundy Cask release (see here for my review; yes that's the score I gave it; hey wait, don't leave!), so I have oddly high expectations for this Springbank release.
NOT the color of the whisky
Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Age: 12 years (November 2003 - May 2016)
Maturation: 1st fill Burgundy wine barrels
Limited release: 10260 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.5%
(Many thanks to awesome Vik for this sample!)

Very little pink or red in the whisky's color, rather it's moderately dark gold. The wine notes are pleasant and reserved in the nose. There's more lime than grapes or berries. Some brine, dingy peat and a little bit of vanilla. Okay, there's some sherry cask-like toffee. Caramel and chocolate. The chocolate note grows with time. Some praline jumps in. It's more grapey in the palate, like a subtle(-ish) PX. But it's also quite earthy, peaty and bitter. The PXy(!) sweetness sits around the edges while the sharpness (led by the big herbal bitterness) rams through the middle. The finish has a soft ginger bite, mint and smoked cheese. A little of a sherry cask note, along with vanilla syrup.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose is more floral, more vanillaed (I'm just cranking out the fake words right now), but no fruits other than a hint of raisin. A good amount of toffee and milk chocolate and whiff of grain. The palate has become less bitter, less sharp, less peaty. Instead there's malt, toffee and a touch of horseradish. The mild finish has that slight bitterness, roasted nuts and seawater.

While the Burgundy cask Longrow was a sweetie pie, this Burgundy cask Springbank limits the sweets and delivers a youthful jab. It feels neither "first-fill" nor "Burgundy", but rather like a second-fill sherry cask. As a result it's similar to the regular 12yo CS range—perhaps slightly less honed—without being different enough to require a 30-50% premium. That being said, if it were priced the same as the CSes, I'd certainly consider getting a bottle. I appreciate the quality of Springbank & Co.'s wine casks and hope they continue their good work.

Availability - more so at American specialty retailers than at European retailers
Pricing - $100-$130 worldwide
Rating - 86