Whiskybase

Springbank 12-year-old

Overall rating
90.77/100
votes
175
Whiskybase ID
WB4511
Category
Single Malt
Distillery
Bottler
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Green Thistle
Bottled
1999
Stated Age
12 years old
Casktype
Sherry
Strength
46.0 % Vol.
Size
700 ml
Label
Cream Capsule
Added on
07 nov 2008 11:30 pm
UncoloredNon-chillfiltered

Average value

€ 1370.68

76 × in wishlist

175 × member ratings

194 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Springbank 12-year-old

28 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 90.77 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. Jackson05 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. SimonOHA scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    More sherry and less on tropical fruits than its 21 year old big brother. Very nice complexity, super pleasant dirty style.
    • Nose
      Concentrated and syrupy nose on a Christmas cake with spices and honey, floral on heather and geranium roots, tertiary notes on precious dust and autumnal notes of peppery and caramelized foam. Fresh set. Dark chocolate, mineral and iodized. Leather tip and dried and stone fruits.
    • Taste
      Sweet palate on salted butter caramel and lightly burnt honey. Dense on prunes and dried figs. Dark chocolate. Fresh despite the thickness of the lamb's lettuce. Varnished (good) sulfur wax.
    • Finish
      Long and warm finish on oak, leather, cold tobacco and some mushrooms.

  5. 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

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

    The nose is rather closed from the freshly opened bottle, I suggest to let it breath for 30 minutes and observe the nose before going further.
    • Nose
      93 93
      Fresh sweetness, like the haw flakes I used to ate when I was a little boy. You can sense that the sherry influence is very dominant, but it's not intense. Figs, prunes, dates. After 30 minutes of breathing, you started to get some light and earthy smoke. The coastal notes, with some salted caramel, and little bit of tuna sashimi. Rocks, minerals, dark chocoalate. This is a very complex 12 year old.
    • Taste
      90 90
      Gentle arrival, it's 46% for sure. Light smokiness, all those coastal and minerals notes, salted almond. Some lemon and lime combo, which I always like to find them in any Springbank. Slight sweetness, dark chocolate, a little bit of metallic and pretty oily on the tongue.
    • Finish
      89 89
      Fresh and long finish, with smoky, briney and nuttiness dominating, with a slight hint of licorice. A little bit of wood tannin and oakiness in the tailing end.

  7. sagara-kun scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    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.

  8. 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).

  9. dram-drinker scored this whisky 94 points Photo Moderator

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

  10. lincolnimp scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    Since I first has this in 2009, I believe it is still one of the best younger Springbanks.

    Going up in price all the time and not worth £150-£200 that they go for now at auction.
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      88 88

  11. kanpai79 scored this whisky 90 points Specialist

    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      91 91
    • Finish
      90 90

  12. Calmar scored this whisky 96 points Connoisseur

    Uber whisky, extravaganza of shades and half-tones, an ultra-wide palette, and what concentration and density, moreover, everything is so harmonious, harmonious, balanced; this is a monumental, integral picture - a masterpiece canvas that you want to enjoy forever, over and over again returning to the already viewed areas and finding new meanings and references there, alas, reality is cruel and the sample inevitably comes to an end, leaving behind only gradually dissolving memories.
    • Nose
      Open, dry, the first nose is very dense, velvety, opens with furniture lacquer and old wood; old leather goods, dry herbs, eucalyptus, camphor, cocoa, dark chocolate, dried fruits, raisins, burnt leaves, herbarium, sweet creamy and confectionery notes, salted caramel, toffee, mineral-industrial shades break through in development - a little welding aerosol, stone chips and drying plaster, burnt match heads; ash-metal motives.
    • Taste
      Soft, extremely intense and concentrated, old leather goods, noble woods, burnt caramel, furniture lacquer, dry herbs, pipe tobacco, notes of stout, sweet creamy notes, caustic minerals and ash-metal derivatives, sweetness again, salty caramel, thick and concentrated caramel-malt tones, dried mushrooms, the number of derivatives is simply incredible, which is just not there.
    • Finish
      Light, refreshing, after a feria of taste and aroma, it feels a little empty, leather goods, pipe tobacco, light mineral and industrial shades, burnt caramel, coffee, candied orange peels, a little ginger and soy sauce, ash-metal motifs, burnt branches, creamy sweetness, salty caramel.

  13. Baanaanaabob scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    Floral, fruity, spicy, chocolate, wax, I get some obe, cognac, orange, superb

  14. Dram Dracula scored this whisky 93 points Connoisseur

    A beautiful dram from start to finish.
    • Nose
      93 93
      Just a beautiful nose. Roasted nuts. Heavy coconuts and caramel. Sour tropical fruits with dried fruits. Some creamy coffee.... latte, I guess. Expensive roasted black tea.
    • Taste
      93 93
      Gorgeous taste. So balanced. So smooth. So creamy. The Springbank lineage is there for sure. Beautifully sherried dram. No complaints whatsoever with this whisky... and fwiw, I'm a known complainer, according to my wife.
    • Finish
      92 92
      Perfect ending. No off-flavors.

  15. jykoo scored this whisky 89 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      91 91
      Dark pale amber color. high intensity. Flora, sweet marmalade, prune, raisin and dried orange peel. Some fresh herb like basil. This remind me of my grandma's storeroom, a lot of dusty, some leather, rusty window. After let it sit for another hour, more caramel, maltose sugar,
    • Taste
      87 87
      Medium intensity, Complex, salty, sweet with some oakiness and tannin like mouthfeel. A lot more dried fruit and some dark chocolate, ginger. There is some plastic like artificial note which i feel a little bit unpleasant.
    • Finish
      88 88
      THe finish is like after you finish a chinese medicine. Dry, bitter and a bit of sweetness.

  16. ConvalRen 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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

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

    Tried it at TMA Vol.5, a wonderful Springbank, as the Springbank character is not overpowered by the strong sherry influence, which adds to its complexity. Love the salty and sour combo, with the sticky sweetness.

  20. Hvdree scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      93 93
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      91 91

  21. Kawa_ZX6 scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    wonderful old style Springbank. Warm and fruity as well as a nice balanced sherry cask taste
    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      89 89

  22. AAA scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      96 96
    • Finish
      93 93

  23. st7 scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      95 95
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      86 86

  24. dram-drinker scored this whisky 94 points Photo Moderator

    • Nose
      96 96
    • Taste
      94 94
    • Finish
      92 92

  25. dram-drinker scored this whisky 94 points Photo Moderator

    Really not bad for a 12yo Springbank, it comes very close to the best dark sherried Springbanks
    • Nose
      Toffee, dark fruits, berries, plums, oak wood
    • Taste
      Very creamy and smooth, sherry wood, plums, dark chocolate, toffee and mocca, raisins, dried fruits
    • Finish
      Medium long and a tad bitter

  26. lincolnimp scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    Not had this before but i would definately buy again from this period. Very good.
    • Nose
       Original Notes October 2009.
      Burnt orange,coconut,marzipan,slight smokiness.
    • Taste
      Very sweet,orange again,sweet/spicy
    • Finish
      Quite long and warming.

  27. The Macallan scored this whisky 83 points Connoisseur

    A world class dram!!!
    • Nose
      Salty/smokey, toffeeish, chocolate and some nice sherry notes in the back - fruit and vanillins.
    • Taste
      Salty first, then peppery and later some chocolate again with soome woody flavors.
    • Finish
      Slightly sharp, smooth and sweety notes, very satisfying.

  28. Master Quill scored this whisky 93 points Expert Senior

    Score is for a Green Thistle - Cream Cap from 1995

    Score for a Green Thistle - Cream Cap from around 1999: 87

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