The Springbank website crawler hint says “Springbank is a unique Campbelltown distillery” and this is no mere marketing. Read on.
I’ve really looked forward to trying this malt. I had to afford it first, it’s pricey ($78 in Oregon). But as “the only Scottish distillery to complete 100% of the production process on site” (link) and their claim that Springbank 10 is distilled ‘two and a half times’ — I had to know, how much magic resulted?
I’ve had a bottle of Springbank on my desk for three months. And just a week or so ago, I found myself within a an hours’ drive of the distillery. My wife and I were returning from three glorious days on Islay, and had to get all the way to Glasgow, turn in the car by 6, and catch a train. The thought of taking a few more hours out of an already hectic day seemed daunting, and in retrospect, I’m glad we passed Springbank by. It would have been too much for one day, and it gives me a reason to return to that corner of Scotland (besides the wonderful people).
I don’t remember my first impressions of the whisky, so I opened the bottle today and gave it a good whiff. I expected peat for some reason, but got instead a distinct maritime note and a higher nose of grassy overtones. Quite pleasant — no hint of oil or phenols. There’s lemon, honeysuckle and a touch of spice on the nose that’s completely distinct and unique. Obviously, bourbon casked.
I like to compare whiskies and wondered what I had that might compare. Tobermory 10 came to mind – an island distiller (Mull), non-peated, and also ex-bourbon casked. Tobermory is just a shade darker in color, and heavier on the nose: more sea, more wrack and seaweed.
On the palate, Springbank is very smooth and fulfilling, compared the livelier palette of Tobermory. I found loads of toffee, red apple, and just a hint of tannins to balance the sweetness. Very smooth, with the aromas of green grass and the sea providing a contretemps to the unctuous toffee.
On the finish, dark caramel and toffee linger long. The grassy note translates into the lovely aroma of a seaside field. You can taste what I think is uncharred oak on the final lingering note of the finish — and I wonder if they use strictly first-fill Bourbon casks, or is that a side effect of the extra distillation?
Springbank 10, Campbeltown single malt, 46% ABV, not chill filtered
Nose: Delicate earthy maritime note, a higher nose of pleasantly grassy overtones. There’s lemon, honeysuckle and a touch of spice on the nose that’s completely distinct and unique.
Palate: Lots of toffee, red apple, and a hint of balancing tannins. Very smooth; the aroma of green grass and the sea balances the toffee.
Finish: Very long. Dark caramel, toffee . The grassy note translates into the aroma of a seaside field. At the last is oak, very clean.
Bottom Line: Yes, they have a unique whisky and I would save it for special days. I’d also use it to introduce single malts to folks with delicate palates. Springbank has the smoothness and complexity of flavor to impress.