Springbank are the oldest independent family owned distillery in Scotland – unusual in an age when most of the familiar names are owned by a handful of global corporations. They are also unique in being the only distillery in Scotland to do everything on-site, from their own floor maltings right through to the bottling plant.
Perhaps their most curious claim to fame, however, is their “two and a half times distillation process”. I’m not entirely sure how you can insert half a distillation stage into whisky production and the graphic provided on their website doesn’t make it particularly clear either.
Still they’ve been doing it for nearly 200 years, so I guess they know what they’re doing.
Springbank 18 Year Old is a light golden dram, which doesn’t show much hint of the sherry cask ageing that it has apparently enjoyed.
The nose is lead by freshly sawn wood, followed by soft red fruit that may be the sherry finally showing its hand. Underneath are hints of orange blossom and just a hint of something medicinal.
Water, unusually, leaves the nose virtually untouched.
In the mouth, it’s initially sweet and creamy although that’s quickly taken over by quite a peppery spice and a peculiar, slightly bitter grain. There’s wet, green grass in the background, too.
Watered, the bitterness is lost and a gentle, soft peach fruit starts to appear. The finish remains long and tingling with a touch of chilli.
It’s a curious dram, as the slight bitter edge leaves me a little unsettled. 2.5 stars.