We've spent the last month reviewing all of the new small batch Campeltown releases we could get our hands on, so we thought we'd go back to the core range releases to compare.
Springbank 10 Year Old (released in 2022)
The 10yo Springbank is matured in both bourbon and sherry casks.
It's bready, nice soft white bread spread with fresh creamy butter and topped with lightly smoked flaky salt crystals. There's the salty sea air, lemon & tangerine peel, a touch of white wine vinegar and burnt twigs. Going back we're getting a slight herbal note, maybe rosemary? As well as some raw hazelnuts and a good amount of "pebbily minerality" (if you know what we mean!). The alcohol is noticeable the further you get your nose into the glass, but it's not too much.
Boiled sweeties - apples, oranges, pears and pineapple. Salted caramel, quite luscious in the mouth with a good balance of salt and sugar. Lemon curd, white pepper, chilli jam, strawberry laces, there's a lot going on. The finish has a good length, leaving behind a mixture of vanilla custard and smoked sea salt. There is a warming, slightly spicy alcohol bite sitting in the background but it's still very tasty.
Nose (with water)
We're getting much more wet wood coming through now, along with a real strong milk chocolate note too. When we get our noses deeper into the glass there's a fresh paint aroma, along with a touch of smoked meat that reminds us of a smoked sausage, and some rich vanilla. We've lost a lot of the citrus from the nose, however the new meatier, richer aromas are more than making up for that.
Palate (with water)
The smoke starts to dominate the palate, alongside some dark chocolate, toasted nuts, caramel and finishing with fresh juice from a tangerine. There's still the earthy, saltiness complimented by charred wood and black pepper. The finish maintains the length and continues to show the vanilla and smoke/salt combo, as well as little preserved lemon.
Springbank 10 is a classic, and it's easy to see why. It's got great complexity, balance and straight up flavour for a 10 year old whisky. It's a dram that arguably has something for everyone - sweetness, acidity, earthiness, spice, smoke and salt. It's maybe a touch too spicy at points and a touch too sour at other points, but it's a solid dram that we'd happily keep going back to.
Springbank 15 Year Old (released in 2022)
The 15yo Springbank is 100% matured in sherry casks.
Grape must, raspberry jam, boozy cherries, marzipan, blackberries, dark chocolate and a whisp of smoke to back that all up. There's a foresty aroma here, freshly trodden earth, pine and a fresh breeze. Going back to it we're getting gooseberries, kirsch and and a hint of oak in the background. Like the 10yo, the alcohol is there but not overpowering and sitting nicely in balance. Unsurprisingly, it's quite sherry forward but we're not opposed to that.
Caramel, chocolate, cinnamon milkshake, smokey with a hint of chili, balanced out with sweet brûléed banana that's been sprinkled with dark brown muscavado sugar. It has a syrupy consistency in the mouth, and candied bacon bringing a saltiness and meatiness to the palate. The finish is nice and warming, smoked nuts, roasted coffee beans, a slight fishiness and vanilla that lingers for a good amount of time. It does end with a slightly bitter oak flavour.
Nose (with water)
We're getting darker fruits, raisins and sultanas, reduced port, molasses and burnt toffee. The smoke is more pronounced now, a real tar like smoke that's being enhanced by the rich sherry aromas. We're starting to detect that famous Cambeltown funk, oily, earthy, saltiness. One thing we do notice is that the alcohol really hides itself with the addition of water.
Palate (with water)
It's lightened up quite considerably, which is surprising based on the nose with water. White sugar, full fat greek yoghurt, vanilla custard and a touch of fresh apple. The mouthfeel is a little thinner, but the finish still has a good length and has a combo of the sweet and smokey flavours that we're enjoying. Going back to it, there's some honey and candied pecans.
This is delicious, there's no doubt about it, but the 100% sherry casks maturation does mask some of the Springbank character. Overall we'd happily drink this all day, but it is quite rich. As for whether this is better than the 10 year old? We think it comes down to your palate - if you're big into sherry then the 15 year old will be right up your alley, but if you prefer a more restrained, bourbon led dram then you might prefer the 10 year old.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.