Springbank 12 year cask strength 54.2%

While I was off gallivanting around North America and UAE, my fellow Mumbaikers were exploring whiskies… This is a guest post by Nikkhil Shirodkar, a member of our original Mumbai whisky club.

  • Nose: This time smoky. Think cured meats, bacon and ham. Lovely notes of orange rind and rose petals. Now some ginger, toffee and leather. Superbly balanced.
  • Palate: Beautiful heather notes with vanilla and menthol. Almost reminded me of the old Highland Park 18. The meaty notes turn into gentle vegetal peat. ​Old books/library​ with leather seating. It kept evolving with lovely sherry notes, roasted apricots and that menthol note again.
  • Finish: Long and warming. A touch of lime, dark chocolate and peat interplay in a magical way! A clear winner.
  • Water: With water the peat smoke gets amplified with pepper notes. Some Pastis? Lovely! Despite the strength, no burn or rough edges. Good mouthfeel.

Reveal: The host teasingly gave away the location to be Campbeltown. From there it was a no-brainer! We were left unimpressed with the Burgundy finish. Maybe as a stand alone whisky it would be a perfectly nice dram but not if it is followed by the vastly superior Springbank 12 year. The host however was of the opinion that the 10 year old – which was the official standard – is superior than the current 12 year old version. It would be interesting to do a comparative tasting.

Official notes:

  • Nose: It’s reminiscent of walking in an autumn forest full of pine and chestnut trees, before returning home to the iodine of a Campbeltown malt and ending with a delicate hint of peat.
  • Palate: A gorgeous richness on the palate which is balanced between citrus marmalade on toast and caramelised toasted marshmallows, not forgetting flavours of vanilla and pepper. It’s a lip licking meaty dram.
  • Finish: A delicious, viscous, smooth liquid with a salty edge. It brings back memories of a ham joint which has been marinated in a rich honey sauce and slow baked in the oven.

This whisky was sampled blind, opened in September 2017 in Mumbai for this tasting. With Springbank, it releases its cask strength avatars by editions which tend to sell out quickly. This edition was released in January 2017 and is no longer available.

PS – You can get Springbank 10 year and 18 year in India! Check out The Vault Fine Spirits.

Whiskies sampled in September 2017 by our original club included:

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Springbank 12 year Burgundy 53.5%

While I was off jaunting around North America and UAE, my fellow Mumbaikers were exploring whiskies… This is a guest post by Nikkhil Shirodkar, a member of our original Mumbai whisky club.

  • Nose: Immediately medicinal, iodine but in a gentle way. Soft peat with an underlay of honey and stewed fruits. Some ash and liquorice notes now replace the medicinal ones. Some raisins and red fruits. It was an interesting nose and evidently non-islay.
  • Palate: Vanilla, gentle peat, sweet lime. The development was not in tandem with the nose. We felt it was rather thin in its mouthfeel. A little musty with damp wood notes. Some chocolate and tannic notes.
  • ​Finish: ​Medium and fades with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
  • Water: With water it becomes sweet with caramel, pineapple and roasted pine nut notes.
​Reveal: The host decided to reveal the 2nd & 3rd bottle together. But he did confirm that it was a non-islay whisky… So check out the next post on the Springbank 12 year for further observations comparing the two expressions.
  • Nose: Bold and rich with mineral and dunnage warehouse notes combining with maple syrup, pancetta, cranberry and red currants.
  • Palate: A soft velvet like texture with buttered brown toast and chocolate shortbread complementing light herb & oak notes.
  • Finish: A medium dry finish gives up liquorice and mint accompanied woody tannins.

Springbank whiskies are from Campbeltown, established in 1828 and remains family owned – now on its 5th generation. The distillery produces whiskies under three brands – Springbank (lightly peated), Longrow (heavily peated) and Hazelburn (unpeated). It also boasts adherence to traditions and proudly and stubbornly keeping every step of the process in-house and on-site.

This whisky was sampled blind, opened in September 2017 in Mumbai for this tasting. It is a limited edition introduced in June 2016 and not readily available, however on its release was retailed for around £60. As the name states, after initial maturation, it was finished in fresh ex-Burgundy casks.

PS – Believe it or not, Springbank 10 year and 18 year are available in India! Check out The Vault Fine Spirits.

Whiskies sampled in September 2017 by our original club included:

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September Samplings – Writers Tears, Springbank Burgundy + 12 year Cask Strength

It has been a long time since I missed one of our original club’s whisky tasting evenings. It is because of this dedicated group that I even started writing about whisky – initially just to chronicle our monthly tastings. However it simply could not be helped…

Stepping into the breech was a newer member who volunteered to document the impressions and discussions. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Nikkhil Shirodkar.

Nikkhil heads Broadcast Technology & Operations at 9X Media – India’s largest music network.

His passion for whisky is infectious and his quest to know more impressive. Nikkhil’s whisky preferences lean towards the well balanced and nuanced styles. He is a big fan of Compass Box, Highland Park and old style whiskies like Mortlach and Lochside. On the Irish side he is a big fan of Midleton and Redbreast.

He also just so happens to be the 1st man to write a guest post for Whisky Lady in India… with tasting notes about all three whiskies sampled in September by our original club:

Check out the links above to read what Nikkhil has to say!

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Springbank Vintage 1996 55.8% Cask No 269

Springbank is a family owned distillery in Campbeltown. So far, I’ve had good experiences with whiskies from these folks.

  • A few years ago we sampled the delightful Springbank 18 year, paired with desert.
  • And long before I even imagined recording tasting notes, a Longrow had a most enjoyable peaty time in my whisky cabinet til the last drop was polished off!
  • During my last trip to Singapore, I enjoyed their Hazelburn 12 year and was sorely tempted to pick up the Hazelburn 8 year 1st bottling.

So when a Springbank was part of Canadian stash from my aunt and uncle? Let’s just say, I was looking forward…

Springbank Vintage 1996

Springbank Vintage 1996

Springbank Vintage 1996 55.8% Cask No 269

  • Colour – Amber
  • Nose – Rich, slightly medicinal, honeycomb, ripe plum, vanilla, toffee
  • Taste – Plums burst into chewy raisins, cereal, oily, a bit spicy, there is strength here, a toughness of character that is earthy, lots of dried fruits and a hint of cinnamon bark, meaty
  • Finish – Very different kind of bitter chocolate, burnt quality, leather… think dark chocolate covered raisins with a dusting of cinnamon, much longer than anticipated…
  • Water – Punches up the sweet quotient in the most delicious way! As expected, kicks up the spice too but then the chewy bark-like quality on the palate mellowed and gained a toffee element to cover the yummy dried fruits and berries
  • Overall – Bold and beautiful! This is no light spring dance or sunny summer romp, instead this whisky is bursting with the golden hues and blazing fire of autumn. In short – I want more!

Unfortunately I do not know what year this was bottled, however there enough going on here to warrant paying attention, regardless of age.

There also were no official tasting notes available, however I did find a few other folks with their observations about other 1996 vintages:

Can’t wait to dig in to the next one from the Canadian sampling stash…

Canadian stash

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Hazelburn 12 year 46%

My astute whisky sampling companion in Singapore selected the Hazelburn 12 year at Quaich bar. Thank goodness as our first sample – the Glengassaugh Torfa – simply wasn’t to our taste!
Hazelburn 12 year (Whisky Lady)

Hazelburn 12 year (Whisky Lady)

Hazelburn 12 year
  • Nose – Clear sherry element with caramel, fruit – particularly plums. A hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and then dried fruits. Quite peaceful… with wet moss, a drizzle of rain… After sampling and more time to breathe, the nose gained even more sugar until it became almost too sweet like sugary orange marmalade
  • Palate – Well-structured, balanced, smooth, spice with a very pleasant curl of smoke, not ‘chewy’ but has some substance with darker elements – roasted coffee and chocolate?
  •  Finish –  Some warm spice, licorice, sweet…
  • Overall – Simply delicious, complex, lots of sherry yet still well-balanced

The Hazelburn is triple distilled, non-chill filtered with no caramel added.

Without a doubt, both my fellow Whisky Lady in Singapore and I put this in our ‘Would buy‘ category… Satisfying in every way and enough to make me regret passing up buying a 1st release Hazelburn 8 year from earlier in the week.

While most would already be aware, the Hazelburn distillery in Campletown was technically in operation only from 1825 and 1925, when it was bought by Springbank distilleries and shut down. Which means this whisky is produced in honour of Hazelburn rather than actually from the original distillery.

Springbank produces three distinct whiskies:
  • The Hazelburn’s you find today are part of their un-peated line
  • They use the Longrow brand for their peated line and
  • Their most popular Springbank standard can most readily found in their 10 year vintage

So far, I’ve overall enjoyed all three ranges from Springbank and look forward to seeing what will emerge with 18 years maturity – for many Scottish whiskies this seems to be their most interesting age.

What others say:

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