Review: Springbank 18

History

Scotland’s Campbeltown peninsula used to be home to no less than 30 distilleries. Now, only three distilleries remain in the former “Whisky Capital of the World.” Springbank is the most well known of the three and has been continuously operated by the Mitchell family since opening in 1828. It is the only distillery in Scotland to produce three distinct brands – Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn – using different production methods. Springbank is one of two distilleries which handles all aspects of the whisky making process from malting the barley to bottling on the premises. They carry on the rich heritage of Campbeltown scotch which used to be the hotbed of early whisky production.

Springbank’s malt is lightly peated (15ppm) and is distilled two and a half times which is unique (most single malts are distilled twice). During the second distillation process some of the spirit is allowed to drain back into the still for a third distillation. For the 18 year the spirit is then aged approximately 20% in ex-bourbon and 80% in ex-sherry casks. This Springbank 18 (2010 edition) is said to contain much older whisky mostly around 21 years of age.

Tasting Notes

Nose: lovely, blueberries, strawberries, vanilla, honey, fragrant, floral

Mouth: light texture, sherry, honey, full bodied, spicy, peppery, salt, rich fruits, chili

Finish: lingers long, spicy, syrup sweetness

Score: 88/100

Verdict: This is a lovely whisky to drink – it’s sherried and sweet while also managing to be spicy. I really enjoyed the mixture of sweet and spicy notes and it’s the first time I’ve ever tasted chili in a whisky. It’s definitely unusual compared to other drams that you may have tasted. The nose was also very enjoyable with a unique mix of fruits: blueberries, strawberries and more. The 18 is definitely more complex and flavorful than the 15 year version. If you haven’t tried a Campbeltown before, this is a great dram to start with. The key drawback for me is the price; a bottle can set you back $150. When you’re at that price level you’re competing with elite competition like Yamazaki 18 and some exclusive cask strength whisky. All in all, Springbank 18 is an excellent whisky which represents the Campbeltown region well.

Where to Buy

Astor Wines & Spirits – 399 Lafayette St New York, NY 10003
Park Avenue Liquor Shop – 292 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Where to Sip

Flatiron Room – 37 W. 26th St. New York, NY 10010

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