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This week I celebrate my 100th review on WhiskyReviews.net! I felt like I should mark the occasion with a really special dram. I like to focus on the affordable side of whisky though, so I didn’t want to go too crazy with the price. In the end, I opted for a 10-year-old entry-level offering from one of the best distilleries in Scotland.
Springbank was founded in 1828 when smuggler William Reid applied for a distilling licence. Reid found life difficult on the right side of the law and in 1837 he sold the business to Archibald Mitchell. Archibald ran the distillery with his son, John. The two men account for the J & A Mitchell name that still adorns every bottle of Springbank to this day.
Whilst Springbank is easily the most successful, it has not always been plain sailing. Back in 1979, all production at the distillery ceased and the future seemed uncertain until a new era dawned in 1987 under Hedley Wright. Wright was the great-great-grandson of Archibald Mitchell, founder of the distillery. Springbank is the only early 19th-century distillery to be retained by its founding family. Wright resumed production and halted any supply deals with blenders, focussing instead on the single malt brand. His strategy seems to have paid off, with Springbank now commanding fierce loyalty from devoted fans across the world.
In addition to the Springbank single malt, the distillery produces two other brands, Longrow and Hazelburn. Nevertheless, it is the original that commands the most respect and arguably the most praise.
Springbank 10 year old is bottled at 46%, un-chill filtered and without the use of caramel colouring.
Smell: Coastal nose with Brine and Sea Salt and a touch of Earthy Peat Smoke with Malt and Green Fruits.
Taste: Pepper, Honey and Cereal with Peat Smoke, Sea Salt and Lemon.
Thoughts: A bottle should cost between £35 and £40. It is fantastic value for money at that amount. Springbank does things the traditional way. There are no computers, no London head office, no overblown marketing department. They just produce a small amount of excellent single malt Scotch whisky. They don’t even seem to be too fussed about the consistency of flavour as the malt can change from batch to batch. That;’s completely natural, of course. No batch process, aged in unpredictable casks tastes the same twice in a row. Instead of worrying too much about it tasting exactly the same as before, they simply concentrate on producing quality again and again. Springbank won’t be for everyone and it certainly isn’t a beginner’s dram. It’s lightly peated, coastal and often rather oily. Some people just don’t get to grips with it at all. Those that catch on seem to absolutely adore it though and the 10-year-old is, in my opinion, possibly the best single malt of that age, currently on the market. It really is magnificent.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.