After a geographically appropriate review on Wednesday (of a Caol Ila, posted while on Islay), I’m back to commemorating my first trip to Scotland by posting reviews of whiskies from distilleries that I’ve not actually visited or gone very close to. Well, in this case, we will be within 37 miles of Springbank a few hours after this review posts, but we’ll be turning in the other direction to drive back to Glasgow, where we’ll spend one night before returning to London on Saturday and then to Minnesota on Sunday. This has been a wonderful trip and I’ll have more posts about it than you can bear in the weeks to come. Though I did not tour many distilleries I did visit a bunch and have a lot of pictures. I will also have some reports on eating in the parts of Scotland we visited.
Okay, to the whisky! This is the 14th (current?) release of Springbank’s cask strength 12 yo. I’ve previously reviewed the 7th—the review was written in London, where I purchased the bottle and then drank it down at a very rapid clip. Though I don’t note this below it paired really well with all kinds of cheese.
Springbank 12 CS (54.2%; 14th release; from my own bottle)
Nose: Very Springbank with leather, savoury gunpowder, brine and mustard seed. Some mild smoke too (woody, not phenolic). After a minute or two some dried fruit emerges from underneath (orange peel, figs, mango leather). A few drops of water bring out a lot more of the fruit and now there’s some sweeter stuff (is that peach?) to go with the dried citrus etc. Creamier too now. Really, it’s an unlikely combination of aromas but it all works.
Palate: Saltier here but otherwise very much as advertised by the nose. The citrus rises to the fore faster here and now it’s more in preserved lemon territory; some white pepper too. Packs a bigger bite than the abv would suggest but I think that’s on account of the mustardy/peppery notes. Not much development with time but no falling off either. Let’s see what water does. No new notes with water but the brine and leather and pepper get more emphasis. Richer mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium-long. Pretty consistent with the palate; maybe a little sweeter. The pepper plays on the sides of the tongue long after the rest has gone. The finish is greatly extended now with sweeter, creamier notes joining the pepper at the end.
Comments: I went through this bottle in just a few weeks. Granted that’s because I’m operating with a very limited whisky shelf here in London but the point is that I really enjoyed going through this very quickly. Not sure what the batches between this one and the last ones I tried are like but I’m going to need to pay more attention going forward. Oh yes, I liked it more with water.
Rating: 88 points.