...but a great one! These old Springbank are always excellent, I never a sub-standard one (at least I cannot remember it). Given both nose and taste I doubt this was a sherry cask. I think this was a first fill bourbon cask with maybe one or two sherry staves build in - a practice which was quite common in the old times when coopers simply used to staves at hand to repair or resize casks, not caring about purity (like "bourbon only" or "sherry only"). Why should they? The whisky went all into blends anyway - they would have laughed if someone had asked for a "single cask bottling". Times have changed significantly since then...
The colour is russetmuscat and the nose offers a subtle and complex floral-honeyed profile with lots of summer flowers, different types of honey and waxes, spices and earthy aromas. I do not find any sherry aromas in here (because other connoisseurs stated a sherry cask maturation), even after longer breathing. This smells more like a first fill bourbon cask which can generate a very dark dram too (after twenty years). Great nose, no doubt.
The taste is multi-layered on florals, honeys, resins, chalk, machine oils, tobacco, leather, liquorice and and and... Extremely complex and balanced with many interesting flavours to discover. Again I have a hard time to catch any sherry-driven flavour in here but after some chewing there is something which tastes like that. Water flattens the dram and strengthens the bitter flavours only, I prefer it neat.
The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coating with some bitter astringent moments (the tannins of the wood are quite strong, which supports my guess of a first fill bourbon cask - a first fill sherry cask would certainly taste different). The finish is long and turns quickly to the bitter tannic side which drives the dram out of balance, to be honest. This is too much wood for me, but wood-heads will love it.