Nose: Big. Savoury. Black olive, bung cloth, bay leaf, and a little smoke. Lightly waxed notes mixing with coconut, trifle sponge, malt and sweet dried fruits. Substantial and complex.
Palate: Enjoyably thick and chewy palate with big upfront flavours allowing the smoke to slide underneath. Good grip.
Finish: Slightly briny.
Comment: There's an uncompromising feral power to this. Magnificent.
[These notes are reproduced from Whisky Magazine Issue 66]
Springbank 1997 (55.2%, OB, 11,000 bottles, 2007) One and only label so far for this new one... Phew!
Colour: pale gold.
Nose: we’re more in the vein of the second CV here, but with extra-oomph and more cask influence. More plain vanilla and vanilla fudge at first nosing but then it gets wilder, farmier, more vegetal and more mineral, not unlike the 12 we just had. Notes of fern, moss, fresh mushrooms, plantain bananas, roots, dead leaves... Then very big notes of wet chalk, a little porridge, ginger tonic, faint hints of turpentine and varnish, shoe polish... It’s very complex for such a young whisky, and certainly the one I like most of all recent bottlings by Springbank – so far!
Mouth: excellent attack, punchy but not overpowering, starting right on these very weird notes that I think are quite unpleasant in some recent Springbanks, Longrows or Hazelburns but that work quite well here. Something like Seven-Up or gin-tonic, or ginger wine. Also quite some butter, plain lemons, buttered toffee, malt, something like concentrated milk, melons... Let’s see what happens with water (and while the nose got smokier): more citrus (tangerines starting to rot – nothing wrong here), a little more salt and a very typical salty waxiness (?) plus quite some added spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon and a sherry that got a little more obvious now but still rather discreet we think.
Finish: long, more compact (vanilla, lemons and salt) and also a little cleaner, which is exactly what’s expected in a very good whisky at my end. I think this is excellent at barely 10 years of age and I almost feel like shouting ‘hurray for Springbank!’ An old love of mine may well be back... 89 points.
Nose: Chocolate, toffee & caramel initially, varnish, wax, cocoa, vanilla. Good sherry character. Some nice spices developing, along with honey, a pleasant nuttiness and dried fruit. Some boiled sweet aromas after a few minutes, then ginger and black pepper later.
Palate: Spicy attack. Very oily, creamy mouthfeel. Toffee much in evidence, with brazil nuts, raisins, plenty of peppery spice, sherry, oak tannins and some smoke. Good depth & weight. With water, loses the spicy edge while remaining very sweet.
Finish: Warming, with the sweetness, spice and smoke all lingering. Great length, good balance and integration.
Comment: Pretty terrific stuff. A fine return to form for a distillery people have been muttering about.