As far as I know, Springbank is a popular distillery. Yet somehow, it took The Whisky Exchange over two years to sell this 16 or 17 year old whisky from their shop. It was quite reasonably priced as well, especially for the age and the ABV.
I know Billy brought it to his masterclass at Maltstock in 2013, but unfortunately I didn’t participate in that one. I went to his booze-party the year before and was still discovering all that Maltstock had to offer, so I went elsewhere. This year, I’m going to try and be at Billy’s again. We just got a newsletter saying that he’s hosting one again, and that’s something I’m happy about.
The Whisky Exchange’s website states that this whisky is quite smoky and therefore might be ‘the other brand’, which would obviously be Longrow. I didn’t really pick up on that so my guess goes back to Springbank, so far as this can be a guess with the name of the distillery in big print on the label.
The nose starts quite salty. There’s also basalt (whinstone), the kind used in harbors. Straw, light oak notes and rather sharp. Warming and somehow classic, attics with old cardboard boxes and dust. Bread too.
The palate is sharp too, again with salt, straw and sharp alcohol. The mustiness I got on the nose appears here too, and there’s a hint of minerals. Apple. Rather drying with hints of pepper too. It does get a bit sweeter but you have to take a long time for that.
The finish is very consistent with earlier findings. Straw, salt, minerals, basalt, oak. That old fashioned-ness (quite different than the kind in the earlier Bunnahabhain or Port Ellen) is almost moldy here.
This is a strange whisky, but also not at all. Its quintessential Springbank, all scents and flavors are right for that. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and that should be a good thing.
Somehow, however, in this case I also find it rather boring. Somehow, doing what you’re supposed to do is predictable. Maybe boring is not the right word, but I should say unexciting.
The whisky is incredibly consistent, maybe one of the more consistent drams I’ve recently had. But again, that also makes it quite predictable. I think that’s the main issue here. As soon as you’ve smelled the whisky, there are no surprises anymore. Unless you count the total lack of new flavors a surprise.
Again, it’s a very tasty dram, but not one that surprises you.
Springbank 1995-2012, 56.5%, The Whisky Exchange Retro Labels. No longer available.