Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO for pouring me a dram.
Still at the whisky tasting. We’re onto the peated section. Which means I took a break, had an espresso, some water, took another break, and then dove back in. We’re on whisky number 9, and the breaks are the only reason I can still keep writing notes, though a bit more messy than normal.
Springbank is a “sometimes dram” these days. People have caught on to the quality standards translating into impressive, sometimes even legendary Scotch, and now we have people camping out by the distillery for releases.
Thus regular people, and even some whisky nerds, are doing without. They are searching for a distillery that’s similar, or hoping there’s a chance that people forget about it completely in a decade or two.
That’s why I feel rather lucky to have reviewed Springbank 8 2012 Springbank Society, a bottle released only for Springbank Society members.
What is it? Why it’s an 8-year-old Springbank that was laid down in 2012 in Fresh Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads and eventually bottled at cask strength.
If that doesn’t perk your ears, you may want to check if your heart is still beating.
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: Can’t find MSRP anymore, but it’s going for £ 750 on the secondary, which is why we can’t have nice things.
Vintage: June 2012
Bottled: April 2021
Cask type: Fresh Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads
Number of bottles 1,830
Colour: 5YR 4/8
Nose: New foam mattress, cinnamon toast, plum, roast corn, fresh violets
Weird first note. But I can’t lie, that’s the first thing I smelled. Honestly nearly stopped reviewing for the day at that. I gave myself more time, put a top on the glass, talk myself up, have another coffee, and drank some more water.
Yep, still like that memory foam. Weird. But not off putting? No, I didn’t eat a pillow like a giant marshmallow, I’ve just smelled one, like a normal person.
Oh, and then all the other notes are complex, interesting mixes, all strong and lovely, with notes of roast veg and floral throughout.
Taste: Roast corn, brine, herbal funk, eton mess
Still roasty, a bit of funk, some brine, and then this big cooked eggy/creamy/sugar/strawberry note. Which is what Eton Mess is, if you’re not a sugar head as much as I am, if there is such a person who hasn’t died of diabetes just yet.
So odd but still makes me come back for more. It’s the type of whisky you can keep drinking just to have that feeling, over and over. Which sounds like a red flag, so I’m glad I didn’t overextend the amount I poured so as to avoid being a dick and showing signs of alcoholism.
Finish: Brine, strawberry, rubber tires, rope, coal, fresh velvet
Salt, fruit, and as my host noted: It’s like visiting the marina where an old timey ship is in. Which I personally worked on for years, and after some additional sips, water, and all that, I’d add it’s that plus getting onto a very fancy couch in George Costanza’s version of heaven.
Conclusion: One of the most unique drams I’ve had in years. It has moments of BBQ, moments of funk, industrial elements of Campbeltown, Oloroso sweetness, and floral.
I’ve spoken before about whiskies I love: Peated whiskies, floral whiskies, and the interesting mix of stone fruit/industrial elements that make Campbeltown (when they are really good). Somehow this one has aspects of all of those, doesn’t feel muddled, doesn’t have off notes, can be simple and supremely complex.
It doesn’t quite hit as to the top whiskies I’ve had, sure. But this is an 8-year-old whisky, and probably one of the most complex young whisky that you can get. They have red-lined the engine, and the engine is a large Oldsmobile from the late 70s. But I’m just defending not giving this as high a score as a 70s Ardbeg, which I personally feel is a higher level.
Whatever, buy this, drink this, find this. That’s my point.
Scotch review #1505, Campbeltown review #79, Whisky Network review #2212