Springbank 20, 1998-2018, Sherry cask, 48% – Antique Lions of Spirits

When I saw the price tag on this one I had to check whether there was a typo there. The ‘cheapest’ one clocks in at almost € 450. For a twenty year old Springbank.

The danger of such ridiculously expensive bottles is that you start seeing the € 300 indie bottlings as affordable options…

Anyway, I got a sample of this from whisky buddy Nils at Best of Wines / Best of Whiskies, on a recent order. I also tried it at Hielander Whisky Festival where I actually bought a sample of this, but of course, at a festival you don’t take notes. I’m glad I actually get to review this properly.

This whisky was bottled at 48% and I strongly doubt whether that’s just a higher strength or a cask strength bottling. It matured in a sherry cask, but apart from that there’s not much info.

Image from Whiskybase

The not-cask-strength ABV (my guess) makes itself known in the way that this is a fairly timid whisky. There’s a complex nose of the Springbank funkiness, but there’s also some fresh apples and grapes. The sherry adds mostly spices and a touch of bitterness. There are some dates in the background. A whiff of something meaty too.

The arrival is very gentle, with a hint of dryness but virtually no heat. Quite fruity, with dates and plums, but also stewed apples. A bitter touch from the sherry cask along with baking spices. Clove, cinnamon, black pepper. The dryness increases with time, as does the bitterness. Almonds, plum stones.

The finish goes more towards the sherry than the nose made me expect. There’s lots of dried fruit going on, as well as baking spices. A hint of the feinty Springbank spirit, but the sherry cask is getting the overhand.

I feel, especially towards the finish, that the cask got the overhand and trumped the spirit. Which is a shame since anything ‘trump’ isn’t good, and Springbank’s spirit is already kick-ass. A bit of an overactive cask, I think.

Still, this is a cracking drink, but not as good as I hoped it to be. What also doesn’t help is that THIS COSTS € 500! That’s just way too much for what this is.


Springbank 20, 1998-2018, Sherry Cask, 48%, Antique Lions of Spirits – Savannah Series*

*Savannah Series. With an orangutan on the label. Because they are well known creatures of the Savannah.

Thanks for the sample, Best of Wines!


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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1 Response to Springbank 20, 1998-2018, Sherry cask, 48% – Antique Lions of Spirits

  1. Pingback: Getting reacquainted with Bladnoch. | Malt Fascination

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