Springbank 12 1996 Manzanilla

Thanks to xile_  for the sample.

Springbank. If Macallan is what the average person buys as prestigious then Springbank is the whisky nerd version. The price is high, it’s only getting higher, and the quality is there. I walk in and someone has more than one Springbank, then they’ll be like “Why are you in my house” and I’ll be like “Uh oh, I just walked into a stranger-with-good-taste’s house.”

Yes, that wasn’t insane at all.

Years ago, before the economy took too many hits to the head and decided to only pander to the top 0.0001%, you too could enjoy Springbank of many a variety. During that time the Kensington Wine Market ended up with their own single cask. Aged completely in a Manzanilla Sherry Cask, this cask strength whisky was affordable, had 12 years to its name, and was a nice find.

Heck, there were even 600 individual bottles so everyone could have some.

A buddy of mine was able to find a bottle, and was nice enough to share with me. I don’t know what you’re paying now. Sell your kidneys and find out, let’s see if it’s worth it, shall we?

Price: $132 CAD in 2008

Region: Campbeltown

Vintage: 1996

Bottled: 2008

Cask type: Manzanilla Sherry Cask

Cask Number: 258

Number of bottles: 600

Abv: 56.4%

Colour: 7.5YR 5/8

Nose: Plum, papaya, roast chicken, ginger, pot pourri, decorating a gingerbread house

Tart, fruity, meaty, roasty… And that’s just to start. Lots of balance, herbal and floral notes, and this lovely backbone of sugar, ginger, and more happiness.

Yes, happiness. If roasting smells or ginger or floral or ginger doesn’t make you happy… get therapy. You deserve to be happy.

Taste: Cinnamon strawberry tart, plum, blueberry syrup, roast orange, grilled pineapple

Buttery, fruity, tart, and some roast fruit notes. There’s this underlying roast note but no meat, like your vegan cousin’s wedding (not mine, she’s awesome and still served meat even though she doesn’t partake).

It’s so varied and complex and hard to really explain. One of those whiskies I just have to stop myself from writing anything because it’s not believable.

Finish: Cinnamon crackers, blueberry turnover, almond croissant, Szechuan peppercorn

Cereal, cinnamon, buttery, nutty, and an earth/spicy/grassy note (I just grabbed some peppercorns to try and explain it, I don’t think I’m doing them justice).

Everything here is complex, flavourful, and nothing bad.

Conclusion: More proof Springbank is the closest a distillery can get to perfection by making quality products and not watering them down. Period. Full stop. That’s what this is.

Yes there are whiskies out there that are priced dumb. The secondary goes nuts. We’re going through a period where obtaining whisky is hard for us lowly peasants. These are rare and hard to get. And maybe that’s okay, because it’s a lot of work to make something this nice.

But damn do I miss Springbank, and this lives up to the others I’ve had. Save it for a special occasion, drink good things, and enjoy life. This is so good it makes me nauseatingly positive.


Scotch review #1419, Campbeltown review #74, Whisky Network review #2099

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