Springbank 12yo Cask Strength Extravaganza: 2022.11.12.
Now that it’s been more than a year since the last release of the last CS12yo I saw it fit to go into my sample cabinet and dig up all the batches I could find. Here is what it resulted in: a gargantuan tasting of 13 different batches. I had to turn to decimal scores to do justice to this session (this is something I haven’t done before, mind you). In Order of my preference:
Batch #21 (45% Sherry, 25% Bourbon, 25% Burgundy 5% Port) 56.1%
87.2 / 86.4 / 85.6
This one is a bit of a confused batch for me, too much is going on at the same time. It has some nice pine resin notes and lots of wet wine cask character. The cask influence takes over distillery character too much for my taste.
Batch #12 (65% Sherry, 35% Bourbon) 54.1%
87.4 / 87.2 / 87.3
This batch drinks quite a bit younger than its age. There is a sulphury quality on the nose and a particular earthy smokiness.
Batch #22 (50% Sherry, 50% Bourbon) 55.4%
87.4 / 87.8 / 87.2
Most definitely, a modern style of SB distillate, the funkiness is elevated, and I even find some of the HB bitterness on the finish, I like this style. The spicy, resinous European oak is rather present on the palate.
Batch #16 (70% Sherry, 30% Bourbon) 56.3%
87.8 / 88.2 / 87.4
This one has a good balance of sherry and bourbon, some roastiness, dried fruits, wood smoke, some nuttiness even. The malt comes through cleanly with lots of vanilla and floral notes, there is just a hint of menthol as well.
Batch #13 (70% Sherry, 30% Bourbon) 56.3%
88.2 / 88.4 / 87.2
A more sherry forward batch with intense spiciness and complex boiled or candied fruit notes. Camphor, dirty distillate - farmyard, drying woodiness on the finish.
Batch #18 (50% Bourbon, 50% Sherry) 54.8%
88.2 / 88.4 / 87.6
This has some very nice honied sweetness as well as floral freshness accompanying the rich maltiness and spiciness of the spirit. Fresh and white-oak-forward.
Batch #17 (70% Sherry, 30% Bourbon) 56.2%
88.4 / 88.6 / 87.6
Intense, rich maltiness, vibrant spices and honey. Minerally distillate, earthy smoke in beautiful balance with the fruity, syrupy cask influence.
Batch#23 (100% Bourbon) 55.9%
88.6 / 89.0 / 88.2
Very modern green type of American oak influence. A bit sappy, almost too sweet… but the creamy texture and the floral barley character comes through from the spirit, making it a very clean, juicy expression from the distillery. Most definitely dominated by the first-fill white oak.
Batch #19 (65% Bourbon, 35% Sherry Casks) 57.1%
88.6 / 89.4 / 88.4
Smoky, dirty, resinous. Roasted malt and a bit of waxiness from the distillate. Strong honey note, vanilla, ripe fruits, and a touch of sulphur alongside the SB funk.
Batch #20 (35% Sherry, 65% Bourbon) 55.3%
89.6 / 89.4 / 88.4
Heavy body, creamy, malty, spirit driven. Nice depth and sweetness from the reserved sherry influence. The barley comes through clearly, heavy oily texture, farmy, funky aromas. Almost reminiscent of the recent local barleys.
Blues Edition (100% Bourbon) 57.3%
88.6 / 90.2 / 89.4
A masterpiece in floral bourbon maturation. Leathery, waxy and dirty, exploding with floral complexity and mineral hay notes. Almost no smoke, but a tiny bit of farminess. Drinks considerably older than 12 years.
Batch #15 (70% Sherry, 30% Bourbon) 56.5%
89.2 / 89.6 / 89.4
Strong, spicy sherry influence, concentrated smoky fruitiness. Earthy vanilla, oily barley and pronounced farmy funk. This is one of the most intense batches and one of the dirtiest. The style of ‘dirty’ sherry casks is reminiscent of the old-school SB-sherry-funk.
Batch #9 (100% Sherry) 54.3%
90.2 / 90.2 / 89.4
Elegant and fruity style of sherry comint through. Classic oloroso aromas, in perfect harmony with the dry and farmyard-y spirit. Spices from the resinous European oak, white pepper nutmeg, vegetal freshness and honied floral notes. Dry maltiness, some plaster, earthy smoke; all enveloped in thick juicy sherry.
And the baseline: Springbank 10yo (20/151) 46%
87.6 / 87.4 / 87.2
Fresh woody and yeasty. Bitter funkiness not unlike HB, and some plaster. Fresh floral honey, some damp hay, dried apples and pears, waxy texture, barley-sweetness. Camphor and sharp spices give more depth.