Springbank 1996-2016, 19yo, cask 551, 54.9% – Archives

Contrary to the big boys of whisky blogging, I’m not going to write the three Springbank reviews of the newest Whiskybase Archives batch in one go. Mostly because that would leave me with little else to blog about for the rest of the week, and second because I don’t really have the time right now.

The story so far.

A little while ago the awesome guys at Whiskybase surprised me with a pack of samples. It contained three Archives releases of Springbank whisky. The IDs for Whiskybase were there, but the page didn’t show anything yet.

2016-03-18 13.02.37

So, I knew it was Springbank from 1996, bottled for Archives. That’s about it. I was very curious to get stuck in, but I also knew I wanted to take my time and sit down properly to try these. Properly aged Springbank is not as common as it used to be, and I know the Whiskybase guys to not half-ass things like this.

So, a few days ago I tried the samples. At about the same time I sat down to try them. The next day things were sold out. I was late to the party. Again.

Anyway, the first of these three Springbank reviews is from a Refill Bourbon Hogshead, number 551 from 1996.

The nose is gentle with some chalk and straw. There’s a certain salinity with dryness and oak. Classic, and weighty older Springbank for sure! It reminds me of the official bottlings they did with the white labels. Mixed peppercorns. Quiet but ‘important’, as my mate Ben would say.

The palate starts surprisingly sweet with banana foam candies, but that’s gone quickly. Then there’s an unexpected fierceness with lots of oak shavings and licorice. Straw, salt and basalt. Slightly syrupy sugar and a tiny trace of smoke.

The finish is slightly oily and mellows quickly. There’s straw and hay with oak and some gentle spicy notes. Licorice root, pepper, salt.

This, ‘dear reader’, is ace Springbank. This is exactly what puts Springbank on the map for me. It’s weighty, slightly dirty with a hint of salt and smoke. There’s something of all categories of flavor (fruit, grass, spices, smoke, feints, the lot).

The sharpness on the palate suggests it can take some water if you swing that way, but I think I prefer this without. It just works. Like a charm.


Springbank 25/10/1996 – 03/03/2016, 19yo, Refill Bourbon Hogshead 551, 54.9%, Archives (Shells from the Bay of Caracas). It used to cost € 160 but is already sold out.

Thanks to Whiskybase for sending samples!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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