Springbank has always been a fascinating distillery to me. I intellectually love them. They are one of the last great Campbeltown distilleries. Located on Kintyre Peninsula, Campbeltown was once known as “the whisky capital of the world” with 28 distilleries packed into its borders. Today a measly three remain with one of them, Glengyle which produces Kilkerran, only releasing a single malt again starting in 2012.
All of this is to say that there is no Campbeltown “style” but when people refer Campbeltown style they are almost inevitably referring to the Springbank style. Especially since Springbank produces three distinct single malt brands: Longrow (peated), Hazelburn (triple distilled), and the eponymous Springbank.
What’s interesting to me is that the standard Springbank Single Malt isn’t particularly interesting to me. Love the history of the region and I love the nuances that make it a distinct malt but it’s never something I needed to keep a bottle of on the shelf. The Wine Cask finishes however are a different story.
Springbank releases a special edition 12 year old cask strength once or twice a year. These are usually met with great acclaim but the ones that truly peak my taste buds are their wine cask finished releases. The subtly and creaminess of the standard Springbank style plays wonderfully with the tannin and juiciness added from a used wine barrel. There’s also less of the sweetness that is associated with sherry or port cask finishes. Where sherry and port can often become the defining characteristic of a malt, here the red wine melds into the base flavors creating something larger than the sum of its parts while not overwhelming any part of it.
These bottles tend to sit on my shelves begging for a special occasion and now every night ends up as a special occasion so let’s pour out this 12 Year Old Burgundy Cask.
This special release was bottled in 2016 at 107 proof after being aged in 1st Fill Burgundy Barrels and is everything I love about these style of releases from Springbank.
NOSE: Golden Raisin, Raspberries, Black Currant, Vanilla
PALETE: Plum, Apricot, Sea Salt, Leather, Honey, with a massively creamy mouthfeel
FINISH: Long, dry, slightly peppery, and a lingering oak
This is a truly breathtaking bottle. Literally, the proof, the flavors, the mouthfeel take my breath away on the first sip everytime I come back to it. And now it’s time to take the bottle away. Another sacrifice to social distancing.