Springbank 12, 1991-2004, 46% – Hart Brothers

At a point in time when whisky was still a lot more affordable De Whiskykoning was not just a bottle-shop, but also an importer of several brands. Stuff happened and things changed, but there is still some stash from back in the day available in the shop.

What’s there mostly is Hart Brothers bottlings, like this Springbank. Distilled back in 1991, three decades ago. Of course, it’s not one of those 700 euro bottlings with a higher age, but it is a nice window into Springbank’s style of distillation for larger markets.

Funky and old fashioned. Hints of old leather shoes, moldy cellars, cement. Dried lemon slices, barley dust, some oak. A bit of coastal salinity, some dried apple, and a minor hint of rye bread. I guess that’s the grain and citrus mixed up.

The palate has quite some minerals, but also hints of iron. One of the more metallic whiskies I’ve had, I think. Quite intense with barley, coastal salinity and minerals. The funkiness of the nose is dialed back quite a bit.

The finish is suddenly much more focused on weirdly sweet with overripe apples and pears, to the point of fermentation. Less coastal, still quite metallic. The funk is back with hints of mushrooms, moldy cellars, leather.

Well, this is quite hard to rate, to be honest. It’s more interesting than delicious, and actually ridiculously inconsistent. There is a lot to like though, and as an ‘easy drinker’ it’s quite fine. But when I sat down for it properly, some flaws show up.

Then again, even though there are those flaws, I enjoy this whisky. The metallic notes are not that nice to have, but the apples and pears in combination with the more coastal notes makes up for a lot.


Still available here


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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