Monday, May 5, 2014

Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength 52.3% (Batch 7)

For some reason Whiskybase, from where I bought this bottle, call this particular bottling Batch 8, whereas everyone else (ie other retailers) classify it as Batch 7. There is no doubt a very good reason for this, but I haven't yet investigated. Someone might even be able to tell me. I've gone with the majority here though, primarily because it is this numbering system upon which I have based my own previous experiences of this label. Batch 5, for example, is my personal favourite.

 Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength 52.3% (Batch 7)

Colour: Copper

Nose: Sherry, spices, chocolate. Not entirely what I was expecting. Smoke and a little leather. Caramelised sugar and strong citrus (orange) notes develop later.

Palate: Straight away I get loads of sherry - spices and dried fruit, both. A little later, bbq sauce arrives. A spiciness lends some tension to the palate.

Finish: Develops well, pushing back and expanding on the palate, those sherried spices and fruit rounding out and coating the tongue. It's both dry and sweet. And long, very long. Salty, tingly and grippy. Licorice and clove emerge, enhancing and bolstering some light touches of red fruit. If you wait long enough, those typical Springbank savoury notes do emerge.

To be honest, I was a little shocked by this whisky at first. It was unlike any other Springbank 12 YO Cask Strength I had tasted, thus smashing my expectations and leaving me feeling a little cheated. But that's what expectations are there for, I suppose. 

There has clearly been a much stronger sherry influence in this batch than in any of those preceding it, so much so that that savoury, leathery, saltiness that I so readily associate with this whisky is at first nearly invisible. These elements do develop, it's just that they're not so obviously in your face as they are perhaps normally.

However, the change in cask make up has indeed produced a delicious whisky. It took me a couple of drams to really appreciate it though, primarily because of those aforementioned expectations and my subsequent need to re-calibrate. But such clean, strong and well-integrated flavours make this batch another worthy addition to the line, I reckon.

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