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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Springbank 10 Year – Three Decades

There was a time in the middle of the pandemic, Sprinkbank was having a Buffalo Trace/BTAC-type jump in the market whereas we started seeing auction prices/secondary market and retailers getting a little out of hand. There’s no doubt the lure of Springbank has grown exponentially over the past half decade or so, and therefore Campbeltown’s traditionally underpriced distillery was going to have to get caught up in the nasty investor side of the whisky business eventually.


Historically, Springbank has been on the lower side of production (around 300k LPA output currently), which paired with the current global demand for their high quality, Campbeltown liquid, means some markets/buyers are either not going to be happy, or are willing to pay the premium. Supply/demand blah blah...but I bring up the production, only to mention that it's led to some serious batch variation in their core range. Even leading to some gaps in their portfolio at times. So naturally, I figured a tasting through three decades of their flagship, 10 year spirit would be a fun way to spend an evening, starting with the newest batch (I have) first.

 
Springbank 10 Year – Distillery Bottling 2021 (Batch 21/120) – 46%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Springbank 10 Year

Distillery Bottling 2021 (Batch 21/120)

46%


Appearance: Pale/Medium brown

First Whiff: Sweet, sour & chalky

Nose: No surprises here. If you're familiar with Springbank’s modern profile, this ones a solid Springer. Citrusy sweet grapefruits, prickly pear, lychee martini (the best way to lychee, in my opinion)…some minor floral undertones...vanilla, wood shellac (varnish) and some maraschino cherry…as a garnish of course.

Palate: Oily, not too dirty. Warm. Bit of tightness holds it back, like sucking on a Lemonhead till it gets sweet. Moving into the tropical side of things towards the mid-backend. That lychee note pops up again and wavers a bit between lemon-lime and passion fruit. With water: Still warm, lots of citrus zest and just a touch of leafy peat, moss-like.

Finish: Medium. Numbing with a little chew. Drying a bit with some lingering tropical notes…subtle guava.


Summary: Modern, easy drinker here. Could drink this all day. Great summer dram. Would probably make a killer highball.

IDS SCORE: 87

 
Springbank 10 Year – Distillery Bottling 2017 (Batch 17/195) – 46%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Springbank 10 Year

Distillery Bottling 2017 (Batch 17/195)

46%


Appearance: Deep gold/pale brown (I’m very non-committal towards these things)

First Whiff: Bag of Halos (mandarins)

Nose: More quaffable than the ’21, slightly less sour. Chalky…also classic Springer. Sweet lemony notes…citron? I guess.

Palate: Not much change here. More lemon candy vibes...sours out though. Candied citrus all-around with some light, hay-like peatiness.

Finish: Short. Biting on the backend. Mr. Clean level, citrusy lemon zest and chalky tang.


Summary: Verticals like these tend to cause some nitpicking as far as scoring goes. I’ll say this was pretty consistent to the ’21 year though, which is not a big surprise since not much changed, production-wise over those 4 years. Another great “highball dram,” which is definitely not a knock, in any way.

IDS SCORE: 87

 
Springbank 10 Year – Distillery Bottling (Circa 2005) – 46%  *Beige Label/Box
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Springbank 10 Year

Distillery Bottling (Circa 2005)

46% *Beige Label/Box


Appearance: Medium-deep brown

First Whiff: Sandalwood and citrus

Nose: Little more astringent (46% DOES kick every now and then), more floral…honeysuckle. Cooked orchard fruits and ginger spice.

Palate: Still oily with more funk. Woodier notes here…nutmeg spice in the front, pungent stinky fruit…ginkgo? Stinky sharp cheese. Shroomy, earthy peat.

Finish: Short. Little lifeless, looking for something sweet to cling onto…grilled pears perhaps?


Summary: Traditionally Springbank likes to use a 60:40 bourbon to sherry split with their core 10 year old vattings, which is not uncommon for most brands, however less stated for sure. The sherry casks definitely had a larger effect in this older bottling. I can see how this might’ve been a bit of an “understated” pour back in the mid-2000’s. Classic Campby Funk with those cheesey/shroom notes. Not a "highball dram." Maybe I'll end every review with highball score from now on.

IDS SCORE: 85

 

Springbank 10 Year – Three Decades

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