This is a 12 year Springbank matured in a cream sherry butt and bottled at 56.1% ABV.
Nose: Wow – some of the strongest sherry notes I’ve encountered in a Springbank. Cloves and fruit cake with some strawberry and cocoa – very heavy dark sherry notes with a decent amount of sulphur in there.
Palate: Sulphury sherry with dates and figs – sherry is completely dominant with some bitter chocolate in there.
Finish: Raisins and cracked peppercorns with some bitter cocoa.
Rating: 89/100 – The biggest sherry bomb from Springbank I’ve personally had to date. A fair amount of sulphur in there which holds it back slightly for me, but otherwise quite good.
Value for the money: I paid around $100 for this I believe at retail, and I have no qualms with that price point.
This is a 17 year Springbank that was matured in sherry oak casks and bottled at 52.3% ABV.
Nose: Brighty, funky malt with some putty and dry oak – orange marmalade emerging after a minute with some yeast notes in the background. Not a very fruity sherry influence on the nose at least.
Palate: Musty oak, quite malty full of dough and yeast with bright citrus notes. Turns slightly grassy with the oak taking on more of a sawdust profile – sherry is minimal but slightly sulphury.
Finish: Funky/bitter oak with slightly sulphury sherry lingering as it turns quite dry.
Rating: 82/100 – The sherry notes are very weak, and to be honest, if I tried this blind, I wouldn’t be 100% sure it was sherried (except the sulphur note might be the only giveaway).
Value for the money: I think I paid around $160 for this, and it’s an easy pass for me anywhere near that price.
This is a 19 year Springbank expression from the Archives series. It was matured in a refill bourbon hogshead and bottled at 56.4% ABV.
Nose: Briny malt with bright tangerine notes alongside stale cigarette smoke, wet slate, putty, and licorice.
Palate: Twizzler candies with lemon and orange juice, musty oak, a bit of pepper, and dried seaweed.
Finish: A bit of vanilla with some tobacco.
Rating: 87/100 – A little different from the typical Springbank profile which is quite interesting – a solid dram all around.
Value for the money: These retailed around €160 which I think is an ok price if slightly high (like most Springbanks).
This is a 14 year Springbank that was released to the Springbank Society. It was aged in fresh sherry pipes which is interesting as I’ve never seen sherry pipe maturing – I’ve only seen port pipes. It was bottled at 57.1% ABV. I didn’t actually know there was sherry involvement as I hadn’t seen the full label, and I wouldn’t have really guessed it was sherried when I tried it as you’ll see in my notes below.
Nose: Briny with some mustard seed and sauteed mushrooms, mossy/earthy oak with some bright clementine notes in the background.
Palate: Coriander, briny malt, very peppery/spicy with a lot of heat on the tip of the tongue, musty oak, slightly herbal with some cinnamon sticks in the background.
Finish: Musty oak and cloves with some subtle vegetal notes.
Rating: 87/100 – As mentioned above, I didn’t know this was sherry matured when I tasted it, and it doesn’t really come through – if anything, I could see it being some type of Fino or Manzanilla sherry even based on the woody/vegetal notes. All in all a nice dram though with some classic Springbank characteristics.
Value for the money: Can’t really find any current price data – they were going at auction a few years ago around €90 or so, and I think that’s a good price if it can be found around that price.
This is a 12 year Springbank distilled in 1990, matured in sherry casks, and bottled in 2003 at 52.4% ABV.
Nose: Plastic beach balls, funky malt, a bit of sulphur, woody mushrooms, and some vanilla.
Palate: Clean, fruity sherry with the plastic notes disappearing – damp oak, peppery malt, mint, and cardamom.
Finish: Slightly sulphury sherry with the plastic type notes returning as the oak notes dial up.
Rating: 85/100 – Pretty consistent with the rest of the 12 year wood finishes by Springbank.
Value for the money: These retailed around $80 which is an ok price – I wouldn’t seek this out for more than that at auction.
This is a 12 year Sprinkbank that was distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2002 at 54.6% ABV. I couldn’t find info on the maturation other than that this was finished in rum casks (not sure for how long).
Nose: Rum comes through very cleanly full of cane sugar and molasses – oak has a very green quality to it. Malty, but the rum has peeled most of the funk from the typical Springbank malt profile – some candied apples after a bit.
Palate: Very peppery with melon, candied nuts, apple peels, golden raisins, and a very woody malt.
Finish: Pepper and molasses with brown sugar.
Rating: 86/100 – This is my first rum cask finished malt, and it worked pretty well. The rum notes come through well without fully overpowering the malt. Although that could be that this is due to Springbank’s distinctive malt – a weaker dram could succomb fully to the rum influence perhaps.
Value for the money: This one retails for a lot more than the other 12 year finished Springbanks – typically around $220+. It’s a pass for me at that price, but I’d buy it around the price of the others ($80 or so).
This is a 12 year Springbank that was distilled in 2000, matured in ex-bourbon casks for 6 years, and then finished in calvados casks for an additional 6 years. It was bottled in 2012 at 52.7% ABV.
Nose: Spiced apples and pears up front with some funky malt, earthy oak, and some subtle butyric notes. I wouldn’t have guessed half its aging took place in calvados casks as the apple notes are quite minimal.
Palate: Calvados comes through more cleanly here but same too does the butyric acid. Musty oak, orange peel, and some almond extract.
Finish: Candied oranges and sour malt.
Rating: 80/100 – I was pretty excited for this one as I really enjoy Calvados aging/finishing on malt, but it has a hard time blending nicely with the Springbank malt qualities.
Value for the money: Assuming this retailed around $80 like the rest of these 12 year wood finishes, and I’d probably pass at that price (or above).
This is a 12 year Springbank that was matured in a refill bourbon barrel for 9 years before being finished for 3 years in fresh Claret casks. It’s bottled at 54.4% ABV.
Nose: Funky Springbank malt up front with the Claret notes struggling to poke through the malt and oak. Some plums and black cherries and some milk chocolate.
Palate: Claret notes are much more prominent here than on the nose with cherry candies, strawberries, almost overly sweet with some musty oak.
Finish: Funky malt returns as the musty oak remains – wine notes fade rapidly.
Rating: 87/100 – I find most of these 12 year Springbank wine/sherry finished bottles to be fairly solid/consistent. This one is no different, but I wish the wine was a bit more prevalent on the nose/finish.
Value for the money: I believe this originally retailed around $70-80, and I think that’s a fair price. I wouldn’t pay much over that if it’s found at auction/on the shelf somewhere for a higher price.
This was the 2003 release of the Springbank 12 OB – it’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Slightly smoky oak with a doughy malt coming through – subtle vegetal notes, root vegetables, coriander, and ground ginger.
Palate: Very oak forward – quite dry & young with a bit of sawdust, tart fruits, honey, pepper, turning malty towards the end.
Finish: Lemon curd, cloves, waxy malt, funky oak, and fresh pepper.
Rating: 85/100 – A pretty standard Springbank in terms of the profile/quality. Like most Springbanks, you get some funky notes to keep things interesting.
Value for the money: These originally retailed around $80 which is a fair price, but now, expect to pay $200+ for one, which is an easy pass.
This is a 22 year Springbank from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. It was matured in a first fill ex-sherry hogshead and bottled at 52.6% ABV.
Nose: Strong sherry combined with Springbank funk makes for a weird combo full of fruity bubblegum, grassy malt, wormwood, and a strong barley note.
Palate: Christmas spices, dark sherry, banana toffee, creme brulee, yeasty – fairly closed off, but opens up a bit over time.
Finish: Sherry dries out with antique oak and leather coming to forefront along with some heather.
Rating: 87/100 – The heavy sherry influence blends with the Springbank’s funky qualites in an interesting way, but I wish it was a bit brighter/more open.
Value for the money: Guessing this retailed around $220+ at SMWS when it was released, and I’m honestly not sure if I’d buy a bottle at that price or not. Springbank always runs a premium in terms of pricing, but I’d be curious to see how this one changes over time. Given the increased price of the Springbank 21 OB these days, I’d say this makes a good buy for a Springbank of this age.