Springbank Scotch Review and Guide: A Stellar Drink [2021]

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If you enjoy a glass of scotch at the end of each day as I do, this guide to Springbank Scotch is worth the read. I’m going to talk about a high-quality scotch brand, founded and operated in Scotland, that sells scotch aged a minimum of 10 years.

After going over the different types of scotch offered by Springbank and offering some tips about the best ways to enjoy them, I’m going to give you 3 great alternatives to Springbank Scotch, too. Are you ready to kick back with a drink in your hand?

About Springbank

Before going into specifics about the different kinds of scotch offered by Springbank Scotch, I’d like to discuss what makes this brand so special.

Springbank has been around since 1828, and during their almost 200 years of official operation, they’ve built a rich history and created top-notch alcohol products.

In this next segment, I’m going to talk about Springbank as a fifth-generation family-owned business, where the distillery is located, and how Springbank maintains its quality control.

Fifth Generation Family-Owned Business

Springbank

Springbank’s chairman is Hedley G. Wright, the great-great-grandson of Archibald Mitchell, Springbank’s first official owner.

Things weren’t always so easy for this Scottish family when, during their distillery’s unofficial operation dating all the way back to 1591, alcohol production and sales were illegal.

This family saw other local distilleries come and go, their owners either risking arrest or cutting corners on quality when alcohol was legalized. Through it all, Springbank has stood strong.

Where is Springbank Located?

Springbank is in what used to be called the whiskey capital of the world! Can you guess it? The Springbank distillery is in Campbell, Scotland, where it was originally founded.

Local Campbell resources are used to make Springbank Scotch, like water from nearby sources, which is how their workers keep the taste authentic to the original recipe.

Springbank’s Quality Control

Springbank is the only distillery in the entire country of Scotland that still malts its own barley. They malt the barley using a traditional floor malting process. Every step, from malting and kilning to maturation and bottling, is done at their distillery.

By carefully selecting who works to produce the whiskey and having control over the scotch-making process without any outside influences, Springbank has a hawk’s eye on the quality of their products.

What Type of Scotch is Springbank Scotch?

Springbank Scotch

Springbank Scotch is a single malt scotch. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, being single malt means that Springbank’s scotch is all made in the same distillery. Part of what makes Springbank scotch special is they take it a step further. They don’t blend batches.

In fact, Springbank specifies the year on the bottle, which will tell you when that batch of scotch was made, and they tell you what notes are in that batch.

Pros and Cons to Springbank Scotch

With only a few marks against Springbank (because we were nit-picking,) I was more than happy with what this brand offers. So, you can have a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of Springbank Scotch, I made a quick chart with key bullet points.

Pros

  • Famous scotch distillery in Scotland with a rich history and proven 5-star products
  • Membership program with members all over the world
  • Family-owned business
  • Excellent quality control
  • Doesn’t mix batches of scotch
  • Uses traditional methods and local resources to make the scotch
  • Every step of the scotch-making process is done in a single distillery
  • Single malt
  • Carefully selected casks
  • No artificial colors or chill filter
  • Inspected during every step of the scotch-making process

Cons

  • With each year’s batch being made of different notes, you can’t buy an older bottle with those same notes if you like the notes in a batch from 10 years ago.
  • Expensive
  • A limited number of products available at a time

How is Springbank Scotch Made?

Springbank Scotch

Making scotch is hard! There are so many steps! Since Springbank completes the whole scotch-making process in their distillery, every step is carried out by people they know and trust. Here’s how they do it:

  • Malting the barley using a traditional-style floor malting method
  • Kilning the malted barley with either hot air, a peat fire, or both
  • Milling the barley to turn it into grist, or a fine powder
  • Mashing the grist with hot water and filtering the liquid
  • Fermenting the liquid in wooden baths
  • Passing the liquid through 3 copper stills and then fermenting it
  • Transferring the liquid into carefully chosen casks
  • Maturing the liquid inside the casks into the scotch
  • Inspecting the scotch, which is then bottled and labeled

Best Way to Drink Springbank Scotch

There is an art to drinking scotch. You want to fully experience what notes in the drink are supposed to stimulate your sense of smell, your sense of taste, and linger on the tongue.

There are a few methods people enjoy drinking scotch by which achieve this, but for Springbank Scotch, there’s no beating enjoying scotch traditionally. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Pour your scotch into a whiskey glass, making it a neat drink.
  2. Gently swirl your cup to release the aromas within the scotch.
  3. Take your first sip of the drink so you can appreciate its full flavors.
  4. Add just a drop or two of water into the drink, swirling it again.
  5. With the water this time, which releases more flavors, enjoy the rest of your drink.

What Foods Pair Well with Springbank Scotch?

Cheese plate

All kinds of food pair well with Springbank Scotch, and all of them will affect your palette as you continue to enjoy your drink.

Some foods are scientifically proven to stimulate your taste buds in an enjoyable way as you drink scotch. To know more about these foods, read on.

  • Strong and smoky cheeses are a #1 favorite when paired with old, bold scotches
  • Fruit that has a core with tiny seeds, or pome fruits, such as apples and pears
  • Grilled steaks and grilled salmon without heavy sauces or tangy flavors
  • Dark chocolate with a high cacao percentage-try to avoid milk and white chocolate
  • Nuts like walnuts, macadamia nuts, coconuts, and cashews

Types of Springbank Scotch

There are 5 different types of Springbank Scotch offered on the Springbank website. All 5 of these types of scotch are aged between 10-25 years, and each batch has its own distinctive notes.

I’m going to provide a quick guide for reference about all of these 5 types so you can buy the perfect bottle for yourself or a loved one.

10-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

10-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

This is known on Springbank’s website as their introductory bottle to new Springbank drinkers. If you’ve never had a bottle of Springbank Scotch before, they recommend you try this one first, which is matured in sherry and bourbon casks.

Notes

  • Nose: Pear, vanilla, and malt with a hint of peat
  • Palate: Malt, oak, nutmeg, cinnamon, spice, and vanilla essence
  • Finish: Sweet and salty

12-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

12-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

This scotch is buttery, it’s fruity, and if you add a drop of water and swirl your glass, you’ll release its milk chocolate and vanilla notes. The alcohol content is 54.2%, with delicious, harmonious flavors.

Notes

  • Nose: Pine, chestnut, malt, and a hint of peat
  • Palate: Toasted marshmallows, marmalade on toast, vanilla, and pepper
  • Finish: Slow-baked honey ham

15-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

15-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

Springbank describes this bottle’s flavors as ominous, dark, woodsy, stormy, homey, and familiar. I agree. It has complex notes I’ve never tasted anywhere else. To enjoy this scotch to its fullest, I recommend having it with a cigar or after eating dinner.

Notes

  • Nose: Dark chocolate, demerara sugar, almonds, toffee, Christmas cake, and oak
  • Palate: Cream, raisins, figs, dark chocolate, marzipan, vanilla, and Brazil nuts
  • Finish: Sherry and oak with hints of leather

18-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

18-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

This is another scotch from Springbank with a combination of flavors I’ve never seen anywhere else. But that work together in harmony. Being aged 18 years, this is the second to the oldest bottle of scotch offered on the Springbank website. If you like rich, full-bodied scotch, this is your perfect bottle.

Notes

  • Nose: Lemon meringue, almonds, olive oil, pear skin, and digestive biscuits
  • Palate: Carrot cake, lime, and treacle in the forefront with butterscotch, dried bananas, and coconut shavings in the background
  • Finish: Gingerbread, licorice, and Madagascar vanilla followed by trinity cream, mint, and vanilla milkshake

21-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

21-Year-Old Springbank Scotch

This is the oldest type of scotch Springbank offers on their website. If you or someone you know is a longtime fan of scotch, this might be the best bottle to buy. This scotch is complex, creamy, has nose notes of fruit, and is a beautiful golden color.

Notes

  • Nose: Toffee, cereal, fresh-picked strawberries, and watermelon
  • Palate: Sugared almonds and cinnamon
  • Finish: Creamy with peat

Alternatives to Springbank Scotch

Next up, I’d like to share some alternatives to Springbank Scotch with you. These are great if you want to expand your scotch-drinking horizons even further.

Though these brands don’t quite have the 200-year-old Scottish history from Campbell that Springbank does with a distillery still in operation today, they also make wonderful drinks.

All these following choices have high ratings among fellow scotch drinkers and are sure to put a smile on your face at the end of the night.

AnCnoc Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

AnCnoc Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Best for: Made with Local Sources

About

One of the things that makes this single malt scotch whiskey from An Cnoc so special is it is made from pure, local spring water. This is another sweet scotch, and its profile of notes won’t disappoint.

  • Nose: Apple and vanilla
  • Taste: Woody with a hint of pear
  • Finish: Warm

Pairs Well With

Milk chocolate, peanuts, cashews, apples, and pears would pair great with this scotch. If you want to drink it with dinner, try pairing it with grilled steaks.

Pros

  • Sweet
  • Made with local ingredients
  • Pairs well with many foods

Cons

  • Not for people who don’t like sweet scotch

Loch Lomond Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Loch Lomond Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Best for: Most Popular

About

The Loch Lomond distillery was established back in 1965, and it’s successful to this day. This bottle of scotch offered by Loch Lomond is sweet with a long and lingering flavor. Since the distillery is still open, Loch Lomond won’t be running out of this type of scotch anytime soon.

  • Nose: Peat with a hint of brandy
  • Taste: Madeira wine and Christmas raisin pudding
  • Finish: Long, light, and dry

Pairs Well With

This scotch would pair well with a mix of bitter and sweet foods. Try it with dark chocolate that has a high cacao percentage, apple slices, and pear slices.

Pros

  • Delicious, simplistic, and harmonious notes
  • Perfect for the holiday season
  • From highly reputable scotch distillery

Cons

  • Methods for making scotch aren’t as traditional as Springbank

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Best for: Most Reputable

About

The Littlemill distillery had been in operation since 1772, which makes it the oldest scotch whiskey distillery in all of Scotland. Littlemill’s rise to fame with products like this one, a triple distilled scotch, is due to the traditional scotch-making methods they used.

Sadly, since this distillery burnt down in 2004, there have been a limited number of bottles of their scotch left in the world. If you’re a scotch collector, this one is a must-have.

  • Nose: Malt, marshmallow, pear, and melon with a hint of grass and honey
  • Taste: Malt, honey, and nuts
  • Finish: Long and smooth

Pairs Well With

This scotch would pair well with a charcuterie board that offers foods to compliment the scotch’s flavors. Make a charcuterie board with walnuts, macadamia nuts, pear slices, honey, and aged cheese.

Pros

  • From the oldest distillery in Scotland, giving it credibility
  • Delicious notes and a smooth finish
  • Perfect gift for scotch collectors

Cons

  • Limited amount of Littlemill’s scotch left

FAQs

In this segment, I’m going to answer your most frequently asked questions about Springbank Scotch. This family-owned business with a distillery on the same lands it was founded on has taken the world by storm, and I’m happy to answer your inquiries about it.

If you have a question I don’t get around to, please leave us a comment in the section below.

Question: Is Springbank a Good Scotch?

Answer: Springbank Scotch is an excellent brand of scotch. Aged a minimum of 10 years, this scotch is known for its rich taste unique to each batch.

Being able to succeed as a company for the last 200 years means they’ve perfected the art of scotch-making. Springbank even has a special membership program so members can buy limited editions of their scotch.

Question: What is the Best Springbank Whiskey?

Answer: This really depends on personal preference. Each batch of Springbank Scotch has its own distinctive notes, which affects how it tastes. Some would argue that the oldest bottle of Springbank Scotch is the best, but even this is arbitrary because some people find they prefer scotch that hasn’t aged for multiple decades.

In fact, Springbank’s website recommends you start with the bottle-aged 10 years first for the perfect introduction to their scotch. If you’re buying for someone else, ask what they prefer or start with the 10-year bottle.

Question: What Does Springbank Taste Like?

Answer: This depends on the notes in each batch of Springbank Scotch. Some batches have finishing notes of leather, others licorice, and others honey-baked ham, among more. Some are dark and earthy, while others are lighter with more fruit and floral notes.

If you’re unsure which bottle has which notes, you can always look at the Springbank website. In the description of each bottle, it lists the notes for nose, palette, and finish.

Question: Is Springbank Scotch Peated?

Answer: Some batches of Springbank Scotch are peated, meaning they are put in a kiln over a peat fire, and some are not. Sometimes Springbank kilns batches over a peat fire, and sometimes they choose to kiln with hot air.

Also, sometimes they use a mix of both methods. While both ways make for delicious scotch, some of us like to know for sure. You can tell that some batches have been peated because peat will be listed as a note in the bottle.

Wrapping Up

Aren’t you craving a glass of scotch? I have been. I got to go over what makes Springbank such a unique brand with a rich history and what makes their scotch special.

I talked about 5 different types of Springbank Scotch and provided 3 alternatives to Springbank Scotch in case you want to expand your scotch-drinking horizons even more.

I love to talk about this subject, so please leave them in the section below if you have any comments or questions. And for more stellar whiskey reviews, check out our breakdown of the Suntory Toki!

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