Springbank 18 Year Old

Submission and notes by member Josh Bruce:

This one was a special treat to sample. Despite some choice bottles in my collection my Springbank 10 remains one of my favorites. When the club first tried this years ago, I was blown away by how unique the nose was on this single malt. Even now, nothing relaxes me like pouring a glass of the 10, and just breathing it in for a few minutes before I even draw a sip. But to date, the 10 is all I’ve ever been able to sample of Springbank. So for the 18, my expectations are high.In the glass the 18 has a light gold color indicative of the bourbon cask aging. Rolling it around the glass shows long legs and it’s somewhat oily demeanor.

On the nose I wasn’t disappointed detecting a similar briny sea air that is clean and crisp like the 10. Unlike the 10, there’s also the faint sting of alcohol on the nostril just reminding you that it’s there. Accompanying this was a faint citrus & sweetness note.

The palate had a spicy warmth that I’d compare to pepper or paprika maybe. The citrus continued in from the nose. The palate had a flat dryness that came in just after the spiciness and the citrus.

The finish was long and mouth watering with the return of the briny character from the nose, and some of the citrus carrying through.So conclusion time…. judging solely on what’s in my glass, it didn’t disappoint. It had the character I hoped I would find, and that relaxation that comes with the briny sea breeze in every breath.

But what I can’t get past is that for 40% of the cost of this, you can still get a stellar Campbeltown whiskey in the Springbank 10. The 18 has a lot of character, but so does the 10 – they’re just different. So given that, I would recommend this bottle for someone who very much wanted to see the range of what Springbank offers – the 18 certainly would not disappoint. Or someone who wants a high profile bottle from a lesser known region. You’d be sure to have guests commenting on just how unique this offering is. 

But then again, the 10 would do that for you too!

Springbank 18

Springbank Single Cask 19 Year Old

Springbank 19 Single Cask

Notes by member Tamara Maurer.

Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Aged: 19 years

Distilled on: May 1997

Bottled on: May 2016

Matured in: Sherry Cask

Bottles: 390

Alcohol: 55.6%

Our purchase price: $390 CAN

Club rating: 4.01/5

When I saw this rare Springbank sitting on a dusty shelf in a private liquor dealer in Santa Monica California, there was no doubt that it would be one of the bottles I lugged back to Ontario.

Such a treat to have this as part of the collection. When I finally found an occasion to crack it open 3 years after nervously standing at the luggage carousel praying it made the journey unharmed, it did not disappoint. A beautiful colour (the last of a dying sunset over Lake Huron under a cloudless sky? Too much?) with no colour additives per Springbank’s usual practice, this whisky could have been a song of sweetness, but is muted due to its high alcohol content, at 55.6%. With an unmistakable sherry influence, this gem is genuinely unique, mixing vanilla sweetness with the saltiness of the Campbeltown sea influence. Peppery and spicy, with nothing floral or too funky.

Pure elegance, in a quirky way that is so, so Springbank.

(Note: we did sample this whisky with and without a drop of water, as recommended by past reviewers. It made a significant impact on the palate, becoming much creamier tasting with the water, with a stronger sherry punch. The club seemed to prefer it with water overall).

(Note 2: Although not a fair inclusion in a review of the whisky itself, I will add that my one criticism of this whisky is its packaging. Springbank continues to bottle its whisky in a decidedly “oldschool” fashion. Although I enjoy the love of tradition, this particular bottle should have packaging to match its specialness, rather than a nondescript bottle with a flimsy open cardboard box)