Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Exclusive Springbank from a big, fat demijohn

If you want something special, going to the Springbank Distillery will not disappoint. The shop has something on the shelves that you will not find elsewhere in the world (flippers excluded of course). First of all, the Cage Bottles, of which we tasted one last week here on Whisky Odyssey. Today we take a look at another distillery exclusive you can acquire at Springbank. The concept of it cannot be missed upon entering the shop. A few big, filled up, demijohns catch the eye. In it, there is liquid from the distillery; Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn. Kilkerran is new to the fold. You can fill your own bottle here, or even better, just grab one from the shelf that has already been filled by the friendly staff. If you are lucky, you can witness every now and then someone walking in, taking off the top of the demijohn, and filling the container up again. In this way, it also creates a solera system of sorts, never knowing anymore which vintage or age is in there. A nice concept, and tasting from a little plastic cup gives you an idea of what you might get. Try before you buy.

I brought one of these Hand Filled Distillery Exclusives home last year, and opened it up straight away. They come in various sizes bottles, so if you are flying in and out of Scotland, you can also choose 20 cl bottles. Or take one of each and contain your spending. The main question remains of course: is it actually any good?

Springbank Hand Filled Distillery Exclusive, bottled at 57,7 % abv by myself

Makeup: Solera Springbank at high alcohol volume.

General impressions: Starts off very sharp on the nose with a strong alcohol whiff. Makes it difficult to find the nuances. There is certainly a nice vanilla, tangerine and orange aroma coming from the glass when you wave it a little further from the nostrils. Strong ties with the Springbank 10 years old, that’s for sure. We take an undiluted sip which gives off the impression of the classic minerality of Springbank, but sadly it is also a bit too hot to really enjoy it neat. I pick up lots of vanilla and some wood flavours. I guess today we understand why raw, pure, bourbon matured Springbank is diluted to 46 % abv and is better that way.

Then, with some water, more limestone than fruit, making it a bit austere. It does have a very fresh character, but it keeps fighting you, and that is a pity. The taste however improves a great deal with a good splash of H20. The clean, fruity character travels with you on the finish.

Conclusion: A decent Springbank, but wildly unbalanced and very aggressive. If you insist on trying a variation on the classic 10 years old, this is actually a recommendable bottle, but it does not outperform it. I had a higher score upon opening the bottle, but it seems to have disintegrated a little bit over the months.

Score: 82 points

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