Single malt whisky - tasting notes

20 Apr 2012

Springbank 21 years (2011)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Springbank

Springbank 21 years old is an iconic whisky (read this if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Several batches were bottled in the 1980’s and 1990’s but since 2005 the reserves had dried up. As the distillery was closed from 1979 until 1989, it was clear that it wouldn’t come back before 2011. And here it is… matured in fresh and refill sherry casks and presented in a 1980’s gay golden packaging.


Springbank 21yo 2011Springbank 21 years
(46%, OB 2011, 1560 btl.)

Nose: well, very good. Rich sherry notes: juicy plums and rhubarb jam. Hints of heather honey and roasted sugar. Not exactly sweet though, there are plenty of spices (ginger, pepper) as well as some wood tones and a certain musty cellar theme to keep it on the dry side. The modern Springbank austerity (minerals, brine, wax) is also showing. Quite complex. Mouth: starts fruity (cassis, raisins) but quickly becomes spicy and sour / vinous. Orange peel, liquorice, ginger, cinnamon. More oaky dryness now. Very faint smoke as well. Finish: long, half-sweet, half-dry, on anise, grass and raisins.


A very complex dram, probably the best modern Springbank. I have to admit I was quite skeptical but in the end it did win me over. It takes the old profile and blends it with the new distillery character. A worthy successor if not for the winey side (but that’s also a modern feature I guess).

Originally around € 250. Already gone now and the last remaining bottles are fetching € 500. Would I trade one of the old ones against this new version? Don’t push it. No.

Score: 91/100

Springbank 21 years (2011) 4.5 Ruben Luyten 2012-04-20
  • Luca D’Anna

    glad to hear they’ve kept the quality of this dram pretty in line with the expectations! is it true that from next year the 21 is going to be a regular offering in their range? and secondly, I saw this for about one hour on TWE before it went sold out, there were other online shops selling it when it came out? thanks!

  • Ruben

    I’m not sure whether it will be available each year, Luca. Probably very limited anyhow.
    Surely other shops sold it as well, I’m sure I saw a few Belgian and Dutch shops. But their allocation was very small so most of them didn’t publically announce it I guess.

  • Luca D’Anna

    it would have been out of reach anyway! :) too expensive to buy without first reading some trusted reviews!
    (and anyway too expensive for a 21 yo not even at cask strength IMHO)

  • MARS

    It’s going to be a regular offering, luca is right.
    And the price is going to be cheaper (for the quality, we will see).

  • kriscuypers

    In auction now they’re a tad bit cheaper than their (far too steep) original retail price. So if you want a bottle…

  • Keith B.

    I have an unopened bottle of the 21(still in the box) that I purchased on a visit to Scotland in the late 90’s for about $60 USD. A friend of mine offered to buy it. What is a fair price?

  • WhiskyNotes

    Please click through to my review of a 1990’s Springbank 21yo to find out what it’s worth.

  • Keith B.

    How do I get to the review?

  • Keith B.

    Found it. Thanks.

  • narbe

    are there different versions of the jagged label 21 year old springbank? I found one that looks lighter than the one you have rated. thanks

  • WhiskyNotes

    Never trust pictures when it comes to colour, it can always appear lighter / darker than the actual bottle. In fact yes, my bottles also look lighter than the one in the picture. I don’t think there were different batches of the jagged label, I think they’re all quite pale… but… I also have a 20cl version with jagged label and that one is *a lot* darker.

  • Narbe

    Interesting. I will go ahead and buy it then since your 94 score is very impressive. Also what is your opinion on springbank 21, the 2005 version and springbank 25 the dumpy parchment label version? Thanks again for your help.

  • WhiskyNotes

    I found the 25 dumpy very impressive (search Lindores Whisky Fest 2011 on this website). The 21yo 2005 a bit less but still very good.

  • wealthone

    Just had 2 drams yesterday of this- what an experience. Whew.



December 2015
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Coming up

  • 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)

1934 notes by Ruben

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