Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Whisky Review: Springbank 10 Year (Orange Label)

I have had a rather mixed relationship with Springbank's 10 Year. Sometimes it was too dirty (see, the previous iteration), other times it was too sweet (see, the iteration before that). They have a delicate balancing act to perform, since the distillery character can become overbearing without the right application of time and casks. But I keep returning to it because I know how good their whisky can be when it hits the mark.

This whisky is aged in a mix of bourbon (60%) and sherry (40%) casks, then bottled at 46% without coloring or chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from

From Springbank Distillery
Springbank 10 Year (Orange Label)

Nose: classic Springbank dirty peat, pine, fresh malt, leather, light sherry, creamy vanilla, and a coastal undercurrent. After adding a few drops of water the dirty Springbank character gets more prominent, the other components retreat, and it gets drier and saltier overall.

Taste: sweet malt and sherry up front, cleaner malt with some peat-y dirtiness and creamy vanilla in the middle, more sherry and very mild oak at the back. After dilution the sherry gets more assertive throughout, the dirtiness resolves more clearly into peat, more vanilla comes out around the middle, the oak gets stronger at the back, and it comes off hotter going into the finish than it does undiluted.

Finish: moderate oak, sherry residue, and dirty peat

This appears to be closing in on the goldilocks point - the sherry is present without being overwhelming, the peat is a component without making it too dirty. While its price point is absolutely absurd locally ($81.95 as of this post), it's a much better deal if you're shopping elsewhere in the States or ordering from the EU. At $50 or less, I would be hard pressed to find many better single malts on the market these days if you want that grungy but not overly peaty character that Campbeltown provides.

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