Please appreciate the fact that Michael K. wrote the label of the sample he sent me of this Springbank in green ink. The whisky is made entirely from organic barley, I believe. As to whether other aspects of the production were particularly environmentally friendly, I do not know. I do know that this was the second of Springbank’s “Green” releases. This was released in 2015; in the previous year there had been a 12 yo “Green”. That one was vatted from bourbon casks; this one is from sherry casks. As to whether the spirit had all been distilled at the same time, I do not know—no vintage is stated and these were large batches (9000 bottles each). Of the two I think only the 12 yo came to the US. I was not paying attention at the time and so have no idea how much it cost. The bottle of the 13 yo this sample came from was purchased by Michael in Scotland (you can read about the purchase alongside his review here). I’m a big fan of the sherry-based 12 yo CS Springbanks and so I’m particularly curious to see what this one is like.
Springbank 13 “Green” (46%; sherry casks; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Not a sherry bomb by any means. There’s some orange peel and just a hint of struck matches plus some old coins and a hint of camphor. After a bit there’s the very Sprinbank mix of peppery olive oil and sackcloth. Brighter/more acidic with a few drops of water.
Palate: The earthy notes are to the fore here and there’s more (earthy) peat here than on the nose. On the second sip it’s sweeter but the sweet notes are held in check by the pepper and peat. With more time it gets brinier and there’s a bit of preserved lime as well. Water brings out more of the brine and citrus.
Finish: Long. The pepper and peat hang out a while and it gets a little bitter as it goes, verging on the vegetal. As on the palate with water and less bitter now.
Comments: Classic Springbank, not overpowered by sherry. Which is to say it is very good indeed. And 46% seems the right abv for this—that bitter note might have been too overpowering at a higher strength; as it is, it adds interesting counterpoint.
Rating: 88 points.