Review of Springbank finishes trio with never a dull moment

Moving on with our Springbank appreciation week. Today is the open day at Springbank distillery and I’m very jealous of my three friends who visits the distillery today (on their way to Feis) and in their honor let’s review a trio (one for each friend) of official Springbank finishes.

The first one is the Gaja Barolo wood finish that spent four years in refill bourbon barrels, followed by another five further years in Gaja Barolo wine casks.

Springbank 9 Year old Gaja Barolo wood finish (54.7%, 11,000 bottles, £57.95/€69,95)

springbank 9 yo barolo wood finishNose: The wine impact is very strong here. Sweet and rich and definitely not drying. Wine and fruity, I wonder if the refill bourbon casks were 1st fill for max flavors as it does feels like that. After letting it breath in the glass, there’s less wine impact and more Bourbon impact and after adding some water there were still some grapes notes in it.

Palate: Sweet, earthy, red wine, spiciness. With water even more spicy and a tad less sweet.

Finish: Long, sweet red wine, honeyed, a bit of oak. With water even more oak and less sweetness.


Next in line is the 12 Year old Calvados wood finish that spent six years in refill Bourbon casks and then six years in fresh Calvados casks.

Springbank 12 Year old Calvados wood finish (52.7%, £57)

springbank 12 yo calvados wood finishNose: Whoa, green apples galore at first. Then comes the sweetness of honey and pears, whiff of white pepper. Some offbeat vanilla, musky  and some whiffs of dustiness.

Palate: Apples bouquet, pepper, spicy notes that weren’t on the nose. sweetness underground layer, iced sugar, oak at end of the sip.

Finish: Medium length, sugary, apples and oak bitterness.


Last one is the 14 Year old Portwood finish. It’s 1989 vintage that was finished in port casks for the last 2 years before bottling.

Springbank 14 Year old Port wood finish (52.8%, €94.70/£135)

springbank 14 yo port wood finishNose: Strong ABV is felt as the alcohol attack the nose at first. Perfumy with wet wood &  earth. sour & fermented fruits. With some additional (lots of) time in glass, we feel the port impact clearly with soaked raisins and added spiciness. With water milk Chocolate and lots more of fruits.

Palate: Spice & sweet, soaked raisins, lots of nutmeg. with water less sweetness but more berries & raisins and less nutmeg. Caramelized brown sugar.

Finish: Nutmeg, oak, lingering chocolate and espresso. With water milk chocolate.


Thoughts: Never a dull moment here. These aren’t simple drams and you need to work out (and sometimes wait a bit) to coax out the good side of those whiskies. The barolo is perfect for those with the sweet teeth, the Calvados is the most straightforward of them and the port wood requires time and patience to enjoy it properly. Happy Springbank Open Day!


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