Springbank 18 Years Review

“A Dirty Mind is a Joy Forever”

Whisky Review # 660

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Springbank
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years (Bottled 2016)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: A Mix of Sherry - and Bourbon casks  
Chill Filtration: No   
Price Range: US Dollars 150-180 (November 2017)
Buying Advice: 😃 Not cheap of course but it has this "something"!

Colour: Deep Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Dirty and Musty are the first impressions that spring to my mind. There's some Sulphur there while I also get notes of Gasoline, Plastic and Cow Manure. An interesting start of procedures! It's quite Light for an 18 Year old actually. Be sure to give it sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. I also find Malted Grain, slightly Burnt Toast, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Toasted Nuts, Hay, Dirt Track, light Peat/Smoke, Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Oak, Mineral notes, X-mas Cake, Sushi, Orange, Blueberries, Dried Banana Chips, Pineapple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Mint and interesting hints of Tobacco and Leather. The Alcohol is noticeable. I had expected more cask influence to be honest. I must assume that large numbers of Refill casks have been used. But there's this Dirty, Dusty authentic feel to this Single Malt that I like. It's not as fresh and lively as the 10 Years but it's thoroughly interesting.    

Palate: The best part of this Springbank in my opinion. I really like this almost old-fashioned feel. It's Dirty, Dusty, Musty, Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sour with Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Dirt Track, Wax, Salted Nuts, light Peat/Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Raisins, Strawberry Jam, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, light Licorice, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Ashes, Leather and Tobacco. A hint of Sulphur. A bit of Melon after a while.         

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and Herbal. A few Sour notes as well. The Dirty Peat/Smoke is more noticeable by now. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Toasted Oak, Bitter Chocolate, Orange, Blueberries, Dirt Track, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, light Licorice, Dried Herbs, Menthol, Aniseed and hints of Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Tobacco, Leather, Diesel and Ashes. The Alcohol is still there as well.   

Drinking Advice:
I added a few drops of Water and you do get rid of most of the Alcohol. But it's not the same Whisky anymore and Plastic and Rubber notes come to the front. Better sip it neat and hate it or love it!    

Rating: 87 

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 22.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Springbank distillery was founded in 1828 in Campbeltown and is owned by the Mitchell family since 1837. In the past, Campbeltown was home to over 30 distilleries but only Springbank and Glen Scotia have survived. The Springbank distillery produces three whiskies. The lightly peated Springbank that is distilled two and a half times, the heavily peated Longrow that is distilled twice and the unpeated Hazelburn that is distilled three times. Springbank is a very traditional  distillery and the whole Whisky making process is done at their premises. That includes malting 100% of the Barley. Because of this, Springbank became a sort of cult distillery with many loyal fans. Prices increased accordingly during the last 10 years. We visited the distillery in May this year and absolutely loved it! It's like going back in time. I can fully recommend a visit!

The 18 Years was first launched in 2008 but a new edition and format was introduced in 2010. Since then, the 18 Years has become an annual limited edition. The 2016 expression I'm tasting today consists of "only" 7200 bottles.

Visit May 2017

🍷  The Spirit 

Springbank operates 1 Wash still and a pair of Spirit stills. Their Lyne arms are slightly pointing downwards and produce a medium-bodied, Sweet, Spicy and Oily spirit. The water is sourced from the Crosshills Loch.

Visit May 2017

🌲  The Wood:

The 18 Years matured in a mix of 80% Ex-Sherry casks and 20% Ex-Bourbon casks. Mostly Refill casks I would say.

Drinking Experience: Good and Interesting.

Conclusion: This is not for everyone! Beginning Whisky drinkers might not fancy Gasoline, Rubber, Plastic and Cow Manure. This is certainly not an easy-going Single Malt. Dirty, Dusty and Musty. But also Authentic, Old-Fashioned and full of Character. It's not at all Balanced and the Alcohol is a bit annoying from time to time. But there's something irresistible to this Springbank 18 Years that tells my brain to have another dram! Unfortunately I only have a relatively small sample. The 10 Years is still my favourite day-to-day Springbank but I will certainly try to get me a bottle of the 18 years to be able to enjoy this bag of Oil, Dirt and Manure from time to time. Good Stuff! 

Jan van den Ende                                                              November 20, 2017

Visit May 2017

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