Springbank, as you know, has become one of the most highly allocated distilleries in the US. It has become all but impossible to find the 12 yo Cask Strength or the 15 and 18 year olds in the wild; and even if you do find them, the prices asked might make the blood drain from your head. And let’s not even talk about the Local Barley or single cask releases. From the regular lineup the 10 yo is the only one that can still be found from time to time without extra effort—at least in Minnesota—and, at roughly $80 before tax, it is almost a reasonably priced whisky in this current extremely stupid market. Relative to age, that is, Relative to quality, I have to say that $80 seems like a very good price compared to many other whiskies that cost more—and, for that matter, many other whiskies that cost less. I loved the March 2021 release that I reviewed a little less than a year ago. And so when I walked into my local Total Wine and saw the July 2022 release sitting on a shelf, I immediately reached for a bottle. Whiskybase tells me that this release was a vatting of 60% ex-bourbon and 40% ex-sherry casks (do the vattings vary across release dates in the same year? I wouldn’t think so). I opened the bottle right away and have been enjoying it over the last week and a half. Here now are some notes.
Springbank 10, July 2022 Release (46%; from my own bottle)
Nose: That classic Springbank complex of brine, cracked coriander seed, lemon, earthy peat and burlap. Some coal smoke comes through as it sits. Continues in this vein for a while and then the sweeter notes begin to come through here as well (almond oil, malt). A couple of drops of water and the almond oil is accentuated.
Palate: As indicated by the nose. Comes in sweet, turns salty as I swallow and then the sweeter notes crest again. Perfect drinking strength and texture. As it sits there’s less salt and more lemon and some roasted malt. With water the coal from the finish pops out earlier and it becomes just a touch too acrid.
Finish: Long. As that wave of sweetness breaks, the salt comes up again, with cracked pepper and more of the coriander seed. After the second sip, there’s quite a bit of char/coal smoke as well. Develops as on the palate; the roasted malt turns to milky cocoa here (in the background). As on the palate with water.
Comments: Is the Springbank 10 the best value in Scotch whisky right now? It might be. If you can find a bottle, that is. I preferred it neat.
Rating: 89 points.
Price, as availability, varies tremendously. In Oregon, where we have had zero Springbank of any kind for more than a year (IIRC) the state price for the 10 has reached near $110. I would need to make a lot more money than I do to feel that was an acceptable price, even if I could find a bottle.
Sadly, shipping in reasonably from overseas has also gotten much more difficult and expensive, not that most UK or European vendors can keep any Springbank in stock either.
I continue to accept Loch Lomond 12 as an achievable local replacement, and for an actual (modern) bargain price of $40.
Enjoy $80 Springbank 10 while you can, you lucky Minnesotans!