I started writing this review a couple of weeks back, awkwardly tweaking and twisting words in an attempt to convey the points I was trying to make, but no matter how I worded it, it came across as forced and contrived. The ideas and analogies were applicable and relevant enough, but the words seemed to fit together as awkwardly as oxymoronic expressions like ‘country music’, ‘government worker’, ‘airline food’ or ‘good rum’. It just wasn’t working.
After investing that much time working on something, however, it’s often hard to hit ‘delete’. In the end I finally surrendered and, trust me, we’re all better off for it. When a writer, in any capacity, has nothing to say, or is having trouble articulating, it’s best he or she simply shuts up and powers off. That’s what I elected to do for a while.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Blank page. Let’s start again and simplify.
Springbank. One of the world’s truly great distilleries and a last bastion of tradition and quality. I’ve said enough good things about this distillery here on ATW that we can probably leave it at that and simply move on to some thoughts about this particular expression.
This 12 year old cask strength release was built from 60% fresh sherry butts and 40% refill sherry butts according to the Springbank site. While most of the distillery’s output is quite good, it’s a pleasure to see it served up au natural, as it allows all of the gorgeously heavy farmy/peaty/smoky/malty notes to ring out with clarity and volume. Drinking this one is like listening to one of your all time favourite albums on a great stereo…and then slowly cranking the volume higher and higher until the windows rattle and the neighbours are knocking. Springbank has taken a great whisky and amped the shit out of it until it nearly overwhelms the senses. There’s no straining to detect subtleties on this one.
Don’t get me wrong here though. I’m not trying to sell this as any sort of angel’s tears or anything. It is, after all, only a 12 year old, but you’re not likely to find many better out there in this age bracket. Nice balance struck on this one. And, man…as I hinted at above…so much ooomph!
If you’re new to the distillery’s output, I’d suggest maybe this isn’t the place to start. It’s a little bigger than a ‘beginner’s malt’. Having said that…if you already know and love Campbeltown’s (and one of Scotland’s) greatest distillery…dive in, folks. This is a good’er.
Nose: Smoke and farmy peat. Kinda ashy. Chocolate malt. Caramel. Just a touch of cherry. Minty. Very much what I want in a Springbank: big, heavy and malty. Balance between fruits and smoky grains is brilliant.
Palate: Ashy, smoky and peaty. Fresh orange and some red/purple juices. Into hard and dry pear, clean barley sugars and toothpicks. Dark earth and clay or flint notes. Nice arrival. Loud and brash, but still showing there is some refinement.
Thoughts: Not my favorite Springbank, but for a mere twelve years on this is an exceptional drink. (Note: this is an edition from a few years back now)
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt