Springbank 12 years 43%

In a ceramic jug, from the 1990ies.


Nose: Raisins, milk chocolate, caramellised something, fried butter and a little eucalyptus. Water brings out the sherry and some congeners, a hint of cellar, possibly some mould.

Palate: Burnt sugar and oak cask. With water the wood tastes rawer, there are a fair few congeners, but also toffee and sherry notes.

Comments: Somewhat strange on the nose, but not at all unpleasant. The congeners are a pluss, they help make the dram more interesting. I prefer the roughness of this to the elegance of the 17 year old. It’s ovbiously worth keeping a look out for these old bottlings.

Springbank Sherry Wood 17 years 52.3%


Nose: Sweed Panda liquorice, Allsorts also, orange marmelade. With water the buttery part of butterscotch and after a while in the glass a hint of smoke.

Palate: Oak. Water opens it up and I find liquorice and eventually the familiar Springbank bitterness, but on this one it’s not overwhelming.

Comments: Very clean and elegant, not a sherry bomb at all. A little too clean and elegant, in that it gets a little boring after a while, but very nice, by all means.

Springbank Rum Wood 12 years 54.6%

Distilled 1989, bottled April 2002 (newly opened bottle).

springbank_rumwood Nose: Rum, apple, butterdough. Chalk and ashes. More ashes with water, but also fresher fruit, green grapes and spruce shoot tips.
Palate: Butterscotch first, malt and cedar wood. The finish is dry, bitter and somewhat ashy, but the buttery taste stays. Water brings out oatcakes with butter, with green grapes, but no cheese.

Comments: Original, but is it good? Unfortunately I have to settle for “No”. It’s the bitterness on the palate again, and there is not enough sweetness to balance it. And this weird buttery character. Is it because of the rum cask? Rum hardly tastes of butter, so I don’t know. Could it be the fattiness of the spirit that reacts this way with the rum cask? In any case, I’m underwhelmed, again.

Springbank Sherry Wood 13 years 53.2%

Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).

springbank_sherrywoodNose: Plums, apples and a hint of cinnamon. Vague whiff of a lit fireplace and ashes. With water it develops sweathy leather and a lightly bitter note, green tree, tobacco and herbs.

Palate: Dusty malt floors, apple compote with cinnamon, red berries, lightly bitter. The bitterness grows with water, it develops tobacco on the palate as well and gets an obvious saltiness (especially on the tip of the tongue). It’s the bitterness, salt and lightly ashy notes that stick around as a finish.

Comments: The nose is lovely and complex, but the palate reminds me of why I’m never completely sold on Springbank. There is too much bitterness for it to work for me.

Springbank Port Wood 13 years 54.2%

Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).


Nose: Red, sweet plums, vanilla and oak, strawberry jam. With water it develops marzipan. Only once I’ve added quite a lot of water does a faint smokiness appear, and at the same time it smells like a boiled sweets factory.

Palate: Sweet wood, a hint of smoke, sweet liquorice. Water gives it a bitter, oaky bite, which for once is a good thing as it balances the sweetness a bit. There is also a whiff of burnt rubber.

Comments: Well. Too sweet by far to be a winner, but a decent session dram.

Springbank Vintage 2000 for Jon Bertelsen 58.5%

Bottled in 2008, cask number 401 gave 322 bottles.

Bottle kill. Much sadness.
Bottle kill. Much sadness.

Nose: Potato crisps with paprika. Malt and vanilla with a touch of smoke. With water I get balck pepper and a dose of barbequed chicken.

Palate: Smoke, ashes and malt. With water, much of the same. Not that this is a peat monster, the smoke is contained, but very clear. Salt bisquits and on the finish something vegetational.

Comments: Bottle-kill. The last few cl have been hanging around the bottle for a while, so that might have affected the taste. Takes a lot of water. This was the first Springbank I liked well enough to buy a bottle of, and it’s therefore a sort of milestone in my personal whisky history.