Springbank 12 Cask Strength
Strength: 54.6 %
Springbank makes great "all-rounder" whiskies that are sherry-heavy with a fair amount of peat and smoke. These combine with a core grassy flavor and smaller toffee and heather notes. The 12 year-old Cask Strength is classic Springbank in this respect and almost exactly what you would expect if you tasted the 10-year-old and 15-year-old bottles and chose a point half-way.
On the nose: plums, molasses, and caramel apples overlay burning grass and musty peat. The peat is not like an Islay whisky but more of a heathery peat as in Highland Park. The combination of mustiness and sherry (along with the fine texture) remind me of Redbreast 15, though otherwise these have much different flavors. In the mouth, the sherry fruit and spice lead off, but bitter grass and tart pineapple bits build and dominate the finish. That grassiness seems common to me in other lowland malts I've tried (such as Auchentoshan Valinch), though to be fair we are not talking a huge sample there. It's not exactly a bad note, but in this Springbank I would prefer if it were tuned down a bit in favor of some of the more enjoyable flavors. Otherwise, a great complex whisky. 91 points (A-).
P.S. I find that I tend to like Springbank more when the bottle is fresh but less so as the open bottle ages. Fresh Springbank seems to me to give bigger toffee and caramel apple notes, whereas the aging Springbank gets bigger on the tangy grass. My final grade favors my initial impressions, but my recommendation is not to keep this one open too long.
Other Springbank reviews: