Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Springbank 18 years old: the best of all worlds?

What is it that makes Springbank so desirable? To answer that question, one only needs to walk around the distillery itself and soak up the history that wanders there like a ghost. It is not hard to imagine being 100 years back in time, maybe even 200 years, since the distillery is slowly creeping up to its 200th anniversary in 2028. The authenticity of Springbank is undisputed. Stubbornly doing things the way they have always done them, ignoring economic ups and downs, having focus only on what matters: the community of Campbeltown. This is why this blogs honours the city with a weekly Campbeltown Wednesday. It is a special place.

The Springbank 18 years old is a crossroad in the range that comes to the market. Each and every aged expression has its dedicated followers. The “18” might well combine the best of all worlds. It is youthful but complex, and it will cost you a penny but is still affordable compared to the older expressions. Time to put the glass on the table for a dissection!

Springbank 18 years old, bottled in 2023 at 46 % abv

Makeup: This Springbank was created from 65 % sherry casks, 20 % bourbon casks and 15 % came from rum casks.

General impressions: Springbank seems to perform rather well on rum casks, so let’s see how it stands up in this batch. The colour is nicely dark on this one, and upon nosing it, it is the sherry content that dominates the overall impression. It is a heavy one, all on dates, Mediterranean marketplace indeed, with spices in open sacks for you to sniff on. Plums, raisins (obviously) and even something Caribbean. So there is where the rum comes into play. What kind of rum? The definition is never clear on this, is it?

The taste is rather dry and very woody. Influences of liquorice, subtle wood smoke and hints of grilled meat.

All rather gentle though, not as alcoholic as some rum influenced whisky’s can be. That is a relief. Still, I feel this Springbank needs a little nudge to open up, so I put in a few drops of water to make it come alive more. Well, works like a charm on the nose, even more juicy flavours burst loose. The taste leans more towards demerara sugar now, infused with wood spices.

Conclusion: A bit of a dark and brooding single malt Campbeltown whisky. Of the expressions tasted lately, this one stays behind a bit. Maybe because – like my title suggests – this Springbank tries to be a friend to everyone. There is indeed every facet of Springbank in this expression, and for that it is applauded, at the cost of some soul of its own.

Score: 87 points

Disclaimer: taken from a self-bought sample from the Springbank Tasting Pack – November 2023, at the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown. All samples from that pack were featured on this blog, today featured the last entry from the pack.

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