Springbank 12 Year Old at 100 Proof (57%) – or Springbank 12-100 as they’re called among connoisseurs – is considered to be one of the benchmark bottlings from this distillery. The ones from the 1990s are legendary, but the older versions are not far behind. Many versions exist with different colours and different levels of greatness.
I believe the ones with the white S below the name are considered to be older and slightly better, but today we’re merely trying the one with the S above. Bottled for Société Auxil in France in the mid to late 1980s. It’s a rather light vatting I’d say – some are certainly lighter, but there are also darker versions.
Rectification: the bottle I tried had a highly deteriorated label. I tried to find a better illustration to go with this post but obviously it’s flawed. The actual bottle was definitely 75 cl and seemed to have a handwritten strength. Here’s a photo.
Springbank 12 yo (57%, OB for Soc. Auxil, 75 cl, 1980s)
Nose: a lot of resinous notes at first. Mastic, greasy iron tools, olive oil, walnuts and sheep wool. A few drops of Manzanilla Pasada. After a little while it starts showing fruity notes: quinces, lime peel, old Calvados and yellow raisins. Hints of eucalyptus, cinnamon, gorse, tiger balm… With more time in the glass it even moves towards aged Sauternes, with dried fruits and a whiff of marzipan. Very complex.
Mouth: very powerful and wonderfully oily, almost creamy. Waxed papers, eucalyptus candle wax, hessian and hints of petrol. Preserved lemons, then back to olive brine and gentian. Liquorice. Hints of bitter oranges. Very direct peat, with just a hint of smoke in the background, as well as canvas and many salty notes. An exquisite combination of sharp power and smoother warmth at the same time.
Finish: long, on warm ashes, newspaper ink, more hessian and medicinal notes. The dried fruits make a comeback in the very end, quite marvellous.
A very pure Springbank with little sherry influence. Just the coastal, mineral Campbeltown character, with excellent fruity notes and a touch of OBE effect. This is a good day.
So yeah, Merry Chrismas!