Springbank 12-year-old

Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Green Thistle
Stated Age
12 years old
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Cream Capsule
Added on
07 Nov 2008 11:30 pm

Average value

€ 866.34

47 × in wishlist

203 × member ratings

233 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Springbank 12-year-old

22 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 90.75 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [March, 2018] These old Springbank "thistle" bottlings were my favourite drams when I started to drink single malt whisky in the nineties and I always enjoyed them. So I asked Frank McHardy why these bottlings are so delicious compared to other 12-years old drams. He smiled and answered "you know, these were bottled shortly after the whisky bust of the eighties and we owned large excess stocks of older casks that we could not sell otherwise. So we simply used some of these old casks (instead of water) to dilute the 12-years old batches to the desired 46% abv. So, actually you drink a good share of much older stuff that matured 20 years or even more, but the share of that differs from batch to batch." What a clever move of Springbank: If this was intentionally than I nominate Springbank for any Marketing Award that is out there: To use excess high quality stock to build a sustainable compelling reputation of your standard range is simply very smart - very, very smart!!!).

    Not just the share of older Springbank is different from batch to batch (by the way, Springbank released rather small batches during these times) but the split between bourbon and sherry casks vary drastically too. Because this all is very interesting I selected two bottles for a head-to-head tasting that represent these differences: A "red thistle" bottling with a very pale colour (WB id 6190, so almost exclusively bourbon casks, I guess) versus this very dark "green thistle" bottling (that contains a high share of dark sherry casks, for sure). I bought both bottles for 66 Euro (129 Deutschmark) each back in 2001.

    Both are great drams of the past and very, very quaffable. Depending on your preference of either bourbon matured or sherry matured drams you should go for the rather paler or darker batches. I really enjoyed both - and the price of 66 Euro was more than okay for a dram of that quality (back in 2001). To be honest, I prefer these drams even quality-wise over the recent 21-years and 25-years Springbank bottlings (not to mention their price)!

    PS: Always remember there are many different batches of the red and green thistle releases that all taste very different. Unfortunately, there is almost no chance to identify a certain batch except from the colour. Both bottles show the bottle code SD764 (what is the batch of the glass bottle production at the bottom of the bottle), but most green and red thistles are bottled with this bottle code. The green thistle has a bottling hall stamp 99/46 on the back side of the smaller back label (you see the stamp through the glass once the bottle is empty), the red thistle has no stamp unfortunately...
    • Nose
      93 93
      The colour of the RED is of jonquiripe corn whereas the GREEN is much darker at burnt umber. Both show a comparable texture of medium tears with slow legs that speed up towards the bottom of the glass. The RED offers an adorable old-stylish bourbon nose that is centered around an autumn floral, fruity and spicy profile with nice honey and sugary aromas. Very delicate and balanced, I like that! The nose of the GREEN is completely old-style sherry driven (oloroso, mostly) with all these adorable sherry-induced aromas you can dream of. No off-note at all (not a single sulphur-atom, I swear!) but all balanced and delicious. The RED was great already but the GREEN is even better - this is sherry maturation at its best...
    • Taste
      91 91
      The RED shows a truly multi-layered taste that I like to chew for minutes. It starts very sweet on barley sugars, then some spices and honeys join before a great flavour of white chocolate pops up (that I adore in this setting). There are many fruity and floral flavours in there too that show up after some time as they are rather subtle and are dominated by the other aromas during the first layers. Not a single off-note that I can detect, fantastic! The taste of the GREEN is multi-layered too with a fine balance of the sherry and malty flavours (despite the very strong sherry influence the Springbank malt characteristics are clearly recognisable). I guess experienced taste buds can identify more than 30 different flavours and aromas in the GREEN. It is chewable for minutes, too and without any flaw (again not a single trace of sulphur!): Because of the additional sherry-induced flavours I prefer the GREEN a little bit over the RED (but the RED is great too, for sure!). Some water releases more aromas both in the nose and on the palate of the RED that is worth a try. Nevertheless I prefer the neat RED, without doubts. Water turns the GREEN smoother and more approachable (quaffable) too, it adds very nice chocolatey notes that in the neat dram just lurk in the background. I prefer a little reduced GREEN over the neat version (but try out yourself)...
    • Finish
      92 92
      The RED arrives warming and nicely coating in the mouth without any distracting moment at all, this is pretty good! The mouthfeel of the GREEN is comparable warming and coating with a minor drying-astringent feeling from heavy tannins (there must be quite old sherry casks in this batch, for sure). This feeling is not annoying at all, it rather promises a great taste to the (experienced) connoisseur. The finish of the RED is long and extends the beautiful tasting experience without any distracting feeling. It adds a pinch of salt and some other spices to this delicate taste. The finish of the GREEN is even longer than the RED with more wooden notes (spices, a little dryness) that are a good contrast to the sweet taste. Again I prefer the GREEN a notch (one point) over the RED.

  2. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [November, 2000]  I had another dram during a Springbank rarities tasting at Rolandsbogen.  I guess this was a 1999 bottling.

    In my old rating system (ten scales that translate into WB points: 50 - 66 - 75 - 80 - 82,5 - 85 - 87,5 - 90 - 92,5 - 95) I scored this 87,5.  My notes state it is a little unbalanced due to the heavy sherry spike.  The finish is long.

  3. Jackson05 scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    This is no 12 year old and that’s a fact as far as I’m concerned. As you can read in other reviews, it is likely not 12 years old at all. Shockingly old sherry you only saw from 70s casks. It’s stunning, but what is interesting is Springbanks mineral character is muted, it falls into a more nuanced spirit that could be another distillery from a bygone era. A fascinating side by side, very educational. Beautiful malt and kudos to Springbank for always putting quality first, a distillery to cherish. Thank you to my friend for the opportunity to try such a dram. Cheers!
    • Nose
      93 93
      shockingly good old sherry. Fine cognac, quality worn leather, plums, dates, fig jam, dried blueberries. You could easily guess this is 70s sherry. Less modern Springbank (not as funky), all about beautiful old style sherry. Very classy, as good of sherry as it gets. Stunner nose.
    • Taste
      92 92
      Seriously old sherry. It’s all about old cognac/Armagnac to me. Old grapes, old regal oak, varnish, big leather notes, black tea, cola, waxy - paraffin. Old candles on a old varnished wood table.
    • Finish
      92 92
      Huge, very long on old sherry. Cognac, cola, blueberries, leather, carob, grape-y in a cognac sense. Varnish and wax. Wood smoke. Wow, this is no 12 year old, it’s very obvious. Long and drying, but in a perfect way.

  4. sagara-kun scored this whisky 90 points Expert Senior

    The nose is not perfect for my taste but in the mouth it becomes very complex and pleasant.
    • Nose
      Nose on the leather thoroughly. A slight hint of sulfur. Dark chocolate, bean. Black fruit (blackberries, blackcurrant). But without the sweetness. Woody bitterness.
    • Taste
      Very chocolaty and round on the palate. Leather. Dust. Old book. It's pretty dirty.
    • Finish
      The final is on the dust. The leather. A very light metallic touch. It's long and sweet.

  5. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [November, 1999]  I had this dram during a Springbank rarities tasting at Kyrburg.  I guess this was a 1995 bottling.

    In my old rating system (ten scales that translate into WB points: 50 - 66 - 75 - 80 - 82,5 - 85 - 87,5 - 90 - 92,5 - 95) I scored this dram 90.  My notes state a dark colour and a rich sherry taste.  Water is not needed (it flattens the dram).

  6. dram-drinker scored this whisky 94 points Moderator

    A good one - comes close to the 21yo Springbank's from the 1990's

  7. DarrenHJA scored this whisky 81 points Connoisseur

    With or without water, still don't enjoy it. I have given it ample time of 3 hours but it's just meh.
    • Nose
      82 82
    • Taste
      80 80
    • Finish
      81 81
      Dry and meh.

  8. Andytka3 scored this whisky 85 points Connoisseur

    1501) Springbank, 12YO (1999)
    • Nose
      N- Highly sought after semi old bottling of Springbank with distillate made in the 80s. Initial blade-y and penetrating dark fruit subsides, for rusty, peaty, creamy fruit beerish nuances to surge. Exotic brown candy with dried citrus, a good sweet sherry but ended single dimensional. With strength reduce to 46%, much muscle been taken away, and the older under-strength liquid put into the vat doesn't quite able to live up to the par. (87/21)
    • Taste
      P- Herb-y and sweet rock candy, buddha fruit tea, prunes, pear core. Dry peat, ashy, chestnut mashed. (88/22)
    • Finish
      F- Medium long, whirling along rock candy coated chestnut, with lavish dried fruits drifting on effortlessly. (87/21)

      B/B- 87/21 Not bad, but laid back and appeared rather 'generic' for Springbank.

      Weighted Rate- 85pt This make me misses the bold Prestonfield 1967, also a 100% Sherry bottled at 46% , but of course, she is single...and also older... has all right to be wilder...

  9. Whisky.Hedonist.MY scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    Re-tasted after 3 months since I opened the bottle, and it's getting better. Pure enjoyment when sipping this.
    • Nose
      94 94
    • Taste
      91 91
    • Finish
      91 91

  10. Dottore scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    Wonderful old school spring bench style. Reminiscent of the 70s. Nice smoke with damn good old sherry influence, you can hardly find that in sherry-ripened whiskys today. Phenomenal. Old leather, figs. A slice of grandma's blueberry cheesecake at an Italian motorway service area. Engine smell. In the mouth oak, leather, coffee, black tea, sugar molasses, honey, prunes and custard. And dirty! Memory of a couple of chunks of earth in the mouth when falling off the wheel. Smoke. Insanely great oily texture. Massively salivating and at the same time astringent. A firework of taste buds on the finish, long, earthy, sweet, fruity and smoky. Great! 92 points


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