So, continuing with my pilgrimage of Campbeltown only until I’ve reviewed them all (or at least most of them), we come to the Cask Strength Springbanks.
Springbank is the distillery that comes to mind when someone talks about Campbeltown. A smarter man would have done it first, to get it out of the way, however they own Hazelburn as well, so I can blame it all on the ongoing headaches I’ve been getting due to the lovely spring (fall?) weather.
A quick note about Springbank distilling: 80% of the malt is distilled 3 times, and 20% is distilled 2 times, thus giving us a 2.8 times distilled malt. Why? Cause Campbeltown, that’s why. They do things differently. These are lightly peated, and partially aged in ex-Sherry casks, just like the regular 10 year.
Speaking of which, a note on my old Springbank 10 review: I was just starting out, I needed the Karma, and I was a young and naive little lady from the Midwest (wait…. not that last part). I’ve since looked back at it and think I gave too high a score for it. I’ll attempt to re-review it given the chance, just thought I’d put that out there.
Onto the drams!
So this is my own version of a “dusty”, as I had to hunt around to find out who swapped it to me. Turns out it was a swap from 8 months ago, from the great /u/Allumina. Thanks again!
Up first we have the enigmatic Springbank 10 year 100 proof. Why enigmatic? Well, there’s two different versions, because proof means two different things depending on the continent. I’m assuming /u/Allumina has the American, beige version, which is 50%. The European version is 57%.
Confused yet? Okay, so which came first, the Springbank 10 year 100 proof or Springbank 12 year Cask Strength? The 10 year, based on what I could find, though honestly it’s just a mess trying to find out anything. Really, we need to start writing things down somewhere about these malts, as I’m pretty sure we now know more about deep sea ocean creatures than this whisky.
So, let’s just see how this tastes and skip all the hullabaloo.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Peach, sour pear, smoke, fall leaves/rosemary, caramel, pot pourri
The peach note that I remember, as well as the smoke, is still there from the regular 10 year. That said, this has more of a leafy smell to it at first, and there’s even some nice floral notes.
Again, this is like if Highland Park made a Peated Lowland.
Taste: Mango, musty, pineapple, prickly, floral, menthol, blueberry, vanilla pudding
Musty. Prickly. Are these good words? I don’t really know. I don’t try to lick cacti that haven’t been dusted in a long time, so I’m a bit confused.
Beyond those… confusing points, there a nice array of different fruit flavours, sweet notes, and even some menthol for you smokers out there. All works together nicely in a unique way.
Finish: Caramel, nectarine, pear, salt sea air, orange rind, eucalyptus, lemon juice, smoke
I don’t think I could drink this everyday. It’s like camping: intense.
There’s a lot going on, and everything is strong. There’s no subtlety to this at all, like me, and I enjoy it.
Conclusion: They are known for being the best of Cambeltown for a reason, and that’s because there’s really not that much to compete with… Also it’s a well done dram. Unique, powerful, complex, and starting to hit that point where it evokes memories. Grab a bottle if you ever see it, I know I will.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #154
Thanks to /u/GWCad for this extra sample as part of a 1 year ago bottle swap! Finally getting to it! I’m really with it! On the ball, completely!
Springbank 12 Cask Strength is an offering that comes out on a… regular? basis? Seriously, finding anything out about this is just rough.
This is a blend of 60% first fill sherry hogsheads and 40% re-fill sherry butts… I think. Maybe. Or maybe it’s bourbon and sherry casks. Honestly, I’m just as lost as everyone right now. Comment if you know anything about it. Or make up something fun for an upvote.
I don’t know what batch this is, so let’s assume it’s Batch 9 until /u/GWcad tells me otherwise.
Edit It’s Batch 6.
Nose: Sour plum, vanilla, smoke, peach, cranberry sauce, cherry, butterscotch, anise
More of an acidic/sour note on this one, probably due to the (maybe) sherry casks. Also can pick up some red fruits, so a sherry cask was used… probably. Most likely.
Taste: Licorice, strawberry, pepper, peach, peat, vanilla ice cream, Jägermeister, nutty
Ah, Jägermeister, my old headache cure in University. There’s a reason I didn’t graduate at the top of my class.
Anyway, this is quite strong and peppery. As time goes on it ends up herbal and nutty. Not as harsh at the 10 year, though much more sweet.
Finish: Smoke/tobacco, peach, tarragon, caramel, hemp, cumin, earth, allspice
Once you get past the smoke (and that takes some time), the earthy/herbal notes from the taste dominate the finish. Too much earth in the finish on this one, which is too bad.
Conclusion: This is a smokey, fruity, interesting dram. It can be too sweet in the taste and too earthy in the finish, though I’d have a hard time passing up a dram of it. Probably pairs well with dessert. I’d go for the 100 proof over this one, though this is still a good dram, and I enjoyed it.
Now if I only knew what I drank, exactly.
Scotch reviews #203-204, Cambeltown reviews #7-8, Whisky network reviews #297-298