This is pretty good to enjoy straight up. However, I personally recommend pouring a second dram and slowly sipping this Springbank over the course of 3 – 5 minutes to really uncover each layer. Let the whisky breathe a little for at least 3 minutes and the alcohol burn gets down to a more manageable level. This lets you get at the more nuanced “teriyaki sauce” flavours I was talking about.
Well-crafted, well balanced and a robustly-flavoured dram that serves as a great introduction to the unique slight motor oil-evocative flavours of Campbeltown
Link to Review: https://88bamboo.co/blogs/the-bamboo-post/springbank-12-year-old-55-4-ob-2021-batch-22
In the glass, a burnished gold colour similar to pancake syrup.
On the nose, a surprisingly intense and colourful bouquet that does not overwhelm the nose. The bouquet opens with a rich and strong maltiness reminiscent of McVitie’s digestive biscuits and vanilla spongecake. It develops into sweeter notes of honey, caramel and a tinge of orange peel. Malt and vanilla really takes the centre stage, with fresh orchard fruits playing a more secondary role. There is a minor component of sherried notes of raisins and preserved sour plum. The nose profile readily comes across even when the glass is held an inch away from the nose.
Slight malt biscuit muskiness and a tinge of spice builds up mid-way through nosing. This is accompanied by mild smokiness (of the sort you get from parma ham) and a very light but distinctive smell of motoroil from a petrol station.
Adding several drops of water causes the maltiness to subside, and somewhat brings the notes of raisins and plum into the foreground.
On the palate, a moderately-rich texture with some oiliness coupled with substantial maltiness. Again, notes of digestive biscuits, some honey, and some banana topped with ice cream. This develops into mildly sweet raisins, figs and preserved sour plum. There is some brininess and minerality that cuts through the sweet fruits and maltiness in an even and balanced way, and the saltiness lingers on the tongue for a decent duration. Slight drying sensation on the back of the throat.
On a second and smaller sip, I begin to somehow detect… a BBQ teriyaki sauce note? Sweetness and saltiness is combined and captured in a rich runny texture- add to that equation a component of mild smokiness and some heat - voila! Chargrilled BBQ teriyaki chicken with some burnt ends!
Moving on to the finish that is long with some warming spice and some refreshing spearmint. There is also a strange but pleasant mixture of lingering umami soy-sauce – similar to Brand’s Chicken Essence, and a fading motoroil aroma.
Intruged yet? You may wonder how notes of motor oil and saltiness can create a good whisky. Yet, for decades Springbank remains one of the most sought-after whiskies in whiskyland. Grab a dram to find out why!