Springbank 12
Springbank: 12 Year: Cask Strength (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky:12 Years: 50.3% ABV)

Visual: Custard gold.

Viscosity: slow thin streaks.

Nose: Raisins. Dry shortbread. Prunes. Stewed fruit. Water adds a familiar grassy character.

Body: Thick. Treacle. Burning warmth. Raisins and sultanas. Vanilla toffee. Charred oak. Plums. Water adds fudge, grassy character, fruitcake and apples.

Finish: Warming. malt drinks. Chocolate liquore and plums. Water makes grassy, adds liquorice and charred oak.

Conclusion: This thing is thick. Initially it was almost treacle textured as you sip it, and warming on the tongue with it. The flavours were completely unexpected based on my previous experience of Springbank – fruity and robust with a mix of stewed fruit and prune notes. Despite the warmth it had a sweetness to it, but very weighty in how everything was delivered. It is lovely but nigh unrecognisable as a Springbank.

A touch of water doesn’t disperse the dark fruit, or that very distinctive feel that says “whisky”, but it does bring out that familiar, slightly grassy character that I always associate with Springbank. The sweetness becomes better defined as a sweet fudge, and the dark fruit does alter, it mellows to be notes in the mid range rather than up front. Here you an detect a restrained amount of peat that had previously been hidden by the sheer weight of the neat whisky.

The finish is long lasting, with charred oak, dark fruit and that aforementioned distinctive “whisky” character. I’ve been writing notes for a while now, intermixed with reading a bit of “A dance with dragons” and I can still taste my last sip.

More water mellows the warmth but the flavour never loses its weight, mixing that raw heavy stewed fruit with *ahem* lighter Springbank house character.

Frankly the whisky can take an extraordinary amount of water, it has about a quarter higher abv, but can take about double the water, each addition adding an extra layer as it tends towards the grassy and peated base.

While a huge whisky, for me, it is that bit too heavy to be a favourite, even with water it feels huge. This does not make it bad, oh no I like a good heavy whisky, but it is a styling that seems odd in contrast to the lighter notes.

However it is a wonder of exploration, and of sheer range, for which it is a fascinating choice. I would probably not grab a bottle, but every now and then it would be nice to settle down with a double and just re-examine it.

Background: Springbank was the first Campbeltown whisky I tried, and is still a favourite. There are only three remaining Distilleries in Campbeltown: Glen Scotia, Springbank (Who make Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow) and Glengyle which makes Kilkerran (Which is owned by Springbank). Despite the small variety they are still a great whisky region. All this is to say, when I saw a cask strength Springbank it was definitely time to give it a try. As you can see I had THE WORLDS TINIEST WHISKY GLASS. (Disclaimer: Probably not the worlds tiniest. Some hyperbole may be in use) It was actually kind of fun to use.

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