Single malt whisky - tasting notes

08 Jun 2009

Springbank 21 years

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Springbank

Springbank claims to be the only distillery that performs the complete production process in its own facilities — including floor malting, maturation, and bottling.

There are many versions of this rather legendary Springbank 21yo. They were bottled in dumpy bottles during the 1980’s. After that, regular bottles appeared with a cardboard box and slightly different printing, first with a jagged label and then with a straight cut label. In 2005, the last batch was released (2400 bottles).

Springbank 21yo Springbank 21y (46%, OB mid 90’s, jagged label)

Nose: wow, one of the most impressive noses I’ve come across. Dry fruits (plums, apricot). A strong whiff of heather. Wonderful notes of old wood, dusty cellars. Just the right amount of sherry influence. Something of biscuits and sweet honey. Coconut? Cherries? Blueberries? Waxy notes as well and even a slight coastal edge. Hints of leather. Oh man, I could go on and on… Complex but so smoothly balanced. Mouth: liquid velvet. Fruity start, candied even. Developing on raisins and cassis. Heathered honey again. Growing spicier (cinnamon, vanilla) and oakier. Very nice touching of coal smoke, but really subtle. Salty liquorice towards the end. Finish: very long, regaining raisin sweetness.

Really excellent, although it’s a tad more spectacular on the nose than on the palate. This is high class. If you find a bottle of this Springbank, expect to pay around € 350.

Score: 94/100


This was post n°100 on WhiskyNotes (hooray), so it had to be something special, right?

Springbank 21 years 5 Ruben Luyten 2009-06-08
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  • Tim F

    Congratulations, Ruben! You’ve got to 100 posts very quickly, you’re making me look bad :)

    Well done, mate, it’s a great blog

  • Ruben

    Thanks Tim! Let’s hope I can keep up this pace. But after all, quality is more important than quantity.

  • smsmmns

    Who told you that rubbish? Quantity, QUANTITY!!!

  • Ruben

    I think I’ve read that rubbish somewhere. Wait a minute, wasn’t that on your blog, Doctor? 😉

  • Charlie

    Was this Springbank 21 yo matured in the sherry cask?

  • Ruben

    Yes, refill sherry.

  • Charlie

    Thanks. I got it from a local collector here for about €220.

  • Ruben

    More than a year later, I have now found a bottle of this Springbank. Most of the bottles in rotation have a straight cut label, but I really wanted to find the version with the jagged parchment label that I loved so much. Hooray!

  • Kenneth

    Hi Ruben (and everyone else!)
    I’m considering to buy a bottle of the newest batch – 2004 or 2005, I think.
    Any notes on that one? Is it near the excellent one from the nineties? Or not worth the money (260 euro)?

  • Paul

    Kenneth – I’ve not tried the dumpy bottle of the 80’s, but for me the jagged parchment version from the mid 90’s is definitely better than the 2004/5 version. The latter is also a wonderful whisky; just lacked some of the smoothness and complexity of the former.

  • Rannoch Moor


    I just bought a bottle of this 21yo, how can I check if this is the version with the jagged parchment label . My bottle dates 25/08/00 and is quite dark in color.

    Rannoch Moor

  • Ruben

    This is a jagged version:
    In the other version, the edges of the label are straight, like this:
    Also the vertical lines are more pronounced, the colour of the S is white vs. paper, and the black capsule is different. The straight version is generally darker whisky.

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  • Max

    Hey Ruben,
    I have a bottle of the jagged one, you could buy it!

  • robert

    Ruben, I’ll trade you a small sample of Glendronach 1968 25 year old bottl. 1993 for a sample of this :)

  • WhiskyNotes

    Hi Robert, I have a couple of bottles stacked away but none of them are open for the moment, sorry.



November 2015
« Oct    

Coming up

  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.