Just last week I spend a lot of time on Glen Scotia, interviewing distillery manager Iain McAlister and questioning how much the distillery benefits from their location in Campbeltown. The reason I raised those doubts is because of the looming shadow of their neighbours and true behemoth of the Scotch malt whisky world, Springbank. So, I figured it was only fitting to give them some attention as well, by way of a review of the Springbank 10 Years.
Over the years I tasted my fair share of Springbank, much of them from the higher segment, be it single casks bottled by independent bottlers or limited editions from the distillery itself. I’ve tried Springbank young and old. However, during my exploration of Springbank I’ve consistently overlooked the very affordable and highly praised youngster from the distillery’s core range, the Springbank 10 Years.
I recently bought a few bottles of the Springbank 10 Years largely because I’ve been hearing so many good things. But seeing as I buy more than I drink (an affliction many whisky enthusiast has to deal with), I simply hadn’t gotten around to opening one of those bottles. However, now that Serge Valentin once again waxed lyrically about the Springbank 10 Years and called it the “#1 bang-for-your-buck whisky for sure, an utter star-killer“, I just couldn’t delay uncorking mine.
Made in probably the most traditional way imaginable (it is a Springbank after all), this single malt matured in 60% ex-bourbon casks and 40% ex-sherry casks.
Springbank 10 Years (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Old leather books and nougat with some quinces and oranges, as well as touches of ozone and wet pebbles. There’s a whisper of anise and soot followed by dense, earthy smoke. Taste: A waxy mouthfeel with a peppery arrival, followed by melted salted butter, charred lemon and sweet tangerines. There’s light touches of menthol and tobacco, with finally a whisper of hemp rope and leafiness. Finish: Medium to long with notes of bitter grass, soot and a nice salinity. Finally some oranges.
I benchmarked this against another bang for your buck single malt from Campbeltown, the Kilkerran 12 Years. That's an improbably high-value whisky, but the Springbank 10 Years beats it. So, while 90 points seems insanely high for an entry-level whisky, the Springbank 10 Years deserves it. Yup, it even outperforms my beloved Benromach 10 Years.