Springbank Cask Strength 12 y.o. (Batch 2) Review

Springbank Cask Strength 12 y.o.024 (Batch 2)

58.5% abv

Score:  88/100


I started writing this review a couple of weeks back, awkwardly tweaking and twisting words in an attempt to convey the points I was trying to make, but no matter how I worded it, it came across as forced and contrived. The ideas and analogies were applicable and relevant enough, but the words seemed to fit together as awkwardly as oxymoronic expressions like ‘country music’, ‘government worker’, ‘airline food’ or ‘good rum’.  It just wasn’t working.

After investing that much time working on something, however, it’s often hard to hit ‘delete’.  In the end I finally surrendered and, trust me, we’re all better off for it. When a writer, in any capacity, has nothing to say, or is having trouble articulating, it’s best he or she simply shuts up and powers off. That’s what I elected to do for a while.

Fast forward a couple weeks. Blank page. Let’s start again and simplify.

Springbank.  One of the world’s truly great distilleries and a last bastion of tradition and quality.  I’ve said enough good things about this distillery here on ATW that we can probably leave it at that and simply move on to some thoughts about this particular expression.

This 12 year old cask strength release was built from 60% fresh sherry butts and 40% refill sherry butts according to the Springbank site.  While most of the distillery’s output is quite good, it’s a pleasure to see it served up au natural, as it allows all of the gorgeously heavy farmy/peaty/smoky/malty notes to ring out with clarity and volume.  Drinking this one is like listening to one of your all time favourite albums on a great stereo…and then slowly cranking the volume higher and higher until the windows rattle and the neighbours are knocking.  Springbank has taken a great whisky and amped the shit out of it until it nearly overwhelms the senses.  There’s no straining to detect subtleties on this one.

Don’t get me wrong here though.  I’m not trying to sell this as any sort of angel’s tears or anything.  It is, after all, only a 12 year old, but you’re not likely to find many better out there in this age bracket.  Nice balance struck on this one.  And, man…as I hinted at above…so much ooomph!

If you’re new to the distillery’s output, I’d suggest maybe this isn’t the place to start.  It’s a little bigger than a ‘beginner’s malt’.  Having said that…if you already know and love Campbeltown’s (and one of Scotland’s) greatest distillery…dive in, folks.  This is a good’er.

Nose:  Smoke and farmy peat.  Kinda ashy.  Chocolate malt.  Caramel.  Just a touch of cherry.  Minty.  Very much what I want in a Springbank: big, heavy and malty.  Balance between fruits and smoky grains is brilliant.

Palate:  Ashy, smoky and peaty.  Fresh orange and some red/purple juices.  Into hard and dry pear, clean barley sugars and toothpicks.  Dark earth and clay or flint notes.  Nice arrival.  Loud and brash, but still showing there is some refinement.

Thoughts:   Not my favorite Springbank, but for a mere twelve years on this is an exceptional drink.  (Note: this is an edition from a few years back now)


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

14 thoughts on “Springbank Cask Strength 12 y.o. (Batch 2) Review

    1. ATW Post author

      Thanks, Rob. Funny you ask that. I tried the 15 for the first time just a few weeks back at a festival here. Can’t believe it was one I’d never had. I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Of course a festival is not ideal for tasting, but I can still usually determine whether something is good or bad. The 15 I had was very good. I’ll pick up a bottle at some point, and will of course write it up when I do.

  1. David

    I like this single malt. I actually liked my previous bottle a little better (it was 54.6%) but it took over a year before it really tasted good. So I have hopes for this batch.

    A question: when I was in Calgary in December I think this was the predominant batch, but where do you see Batch 2? I have not been able to figure out how to distinguish between batches with the exception of the ABV.

    It seems odd that this, which was for sale recently, would only be the second batch, when the distillery said they are releasing about 2 batches a year, and it got my first batch in 2011.

    Any guidance would be appreciated…

    1. ATW Post author

      Hahahaha. My guidance on this one was a whole bunch of online hunting for date details when I googled ‘Springbank 12 cask strength 58.5’. Seemed to be predominantly labeled as B2. Further…this was bought a few years back. I can’t speak for what is currently on the shelves.

      Sorry, David. Wish I could be more help.

      1. David

        I guess it doesn’t matter which batch it is as long as it tastes good.

        I’ve tastes a few Springbank cask strengthers, this one and a predecessor, the claret wood, and a single cask (the one for the Calgary flood). While all were different, they all tasted well-crafted.

  2. Jeff

    Nice review – I’ve got one of these to open and the comments and the mark were about what I was hoping for from this whisky. I’ll quit before I say something negat…

  3. Joe

    “I’m not trying to sell this as any sort of angel’s tears” Save that for Ralfy 🙂 Although I cannot argue against him (I’m highly enjoying the 50.3 batch) he really works at promoting Springbank (review 444). I assume a big piece of this is to target many other distilleries to get their act together.

  4. Ben

    I just picked up a bottle of the latest batch of this stuff (Batch 10 I believe). It’s quite good, at 53.2%, it has a nice mouth-coating feeling. I find this very balanced.
    Good nose, too.

  5. David

    Happy Chanuka everyone!

    I’m just having a drop of the Claret Wood version of the 12YO CS to cut the grease from the latkes I fried today..

    One of few one-offs I’ve stocked up on (I bought 4 after I tried my original bottle in 2011 (actually bought my second in 2012 once I really started liking it) and all 4 at different times in Calgary.

    Would the bounty be as good if Curt were not around to write about it?

    Thanks Curt, and season’s greetings!

  6. peter

    Trying the 2014 Batch 10, don’t get any of the Sherry finish at all. The nose is phenomenal, very thick mouthful, not much peat but really good at a decent price.

  7. Jeff

    Impressive! The sherry might be a little like Glenfarclas, but the umami notes turn it into meaty jet fuel. Given lots of room in a Canadian Glencairn, this is a thing unto itself. My bottle is a different version (55.3%), but don’t pass this up if the opportunity presents itself – it might not quite hit like a cask strength, but the subtlety and depth of flavour belie both its age and strength, sort of like Ali, hard-to-read power with the deft footwork of a middle or lightweight.



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