The Springbank 15 Year was created to be reminiscent of old style whiskies, created with traditional methods and aged in sherry casks. It is one of very few single malts coming from the historic Campbeltown region of Scotland.
The Springbank 15 is made from malt that is dried for a short time over peat smoke, followed by a warm air drying process. This gives the whisky a hint of peat without a really distinctive flavor or smell. The sherry wood is definitely the defining factor in this bottle, with sweet and warm elements filling every part of the experience.
This bottle is best opened after dinner on a chilly night. The warmth is pleasant without being hot or fiery, and the sweetness will go well with either dessert or cigars. You will imagine yourself sitting on an aged leather chair wearing a brocade dressing gown and a cravat—yes, it is that traditional. The Springbank 15 is also fine for tasting on its own, although it may be too warm for the summer season.
One note about the Springbank 15 Year: it may have an entry level price tag, but it is by no means a beginner’s scotch. Newcomers will be scared away by the bold and rich flavors. It takes an expert to experience this dram to the fullest, so enjoy it alone or share it with other scotch enthusiasts.
Nose: 21/25. As soon as you open the bottle, you will notice a detectable sherry smell. However, the whisky is much richer than sherry, and contains tropical fruit smells as well as the depth of toffee. There is a pleasant smell of aged, worn leather—an unusual element that will make you bring the glass up to your nose over and over.
Palate: 22/25. The tropical fruit that dominated the nose becomes even stronger on the palate. There is a rich wood taste that mixes with the leather elements and adds just a tiny bit of bitterness. The texture is full, bold and velvety—as full as you can get without being thick or unpleasant. You will notice undertones of warm winter spices, especially nutmeg, as well as a touch of tannin. There is a mildly earthy peat taste, but it is barely detectable and seems to melt into the other flavors. In all, a complex dram that is full of character.
Finish: 22/25. The finish is long and spicy, with a more noticeable peat element and also some maritime tastes. There is a tiny bit of bitterness that mixes well with the final blast of warmth. I love how the sweetness seems to dissipate, allowing the other flavors to take center stage at last.
Character: 24/25. In all, this whisky is the best of all worlds for many connoisseurs: smooth and rich with just the right amount of peat and salt. The individual flavors are easily detectable, but they seem to flow together in a very pleasant way. If this is how scotch was traditionally made, I can only hope that the old ways will become fashionable once again.
Overall Rating For Springbank 15 Year Old Whisky: 89/100