Whisky Review: Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy (Limited Release)

By Whisky Kirk / September 28, 2016
Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy

Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy (image via Whisky Kirk/The Whiskey Wash)

Springbank distillery set aside some very special casks for its burgundy-colored box and label. Campbeltown fans from Moscow, Russia, to Moscow, Idaho, perched on the edge of their seats in front of their computers, and proceeded to buy out the first available shipments within hours of when bottles hit the virtual shelves. Physical stores with walk-in customers also sold out in record time.

Yes, when it comes to quality single malt scotch, Springbank is hard to beat. Of all the releases that come out of its stills, the limited ones are getting more and more fanfare these days, and for good reason. They stand head and shoulders above most other whiskies in the world.

This review will cover the latest cask strength 12-year-old bad boys: namely, Springbank’s 12 -Year-Old Burgundy. As its title proclaims, the limited offering was matured in casks that once aged burgundy wine.

Burgundy is a region in France that tends to grow dry red wines, such as gamay and pinot noir, as well as some whites. I’ve found Springbank whisky tends to work quite well with these types of casks. However, I was not all that impressed with the Longrow 14-Year-Old Burgundy, which was released a couple of years ago. Let’s go ahead, and move on to the interactive section of this review to see how the latest creation in French red wine casks performs.

Tasting Notes: Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy

Nose: Tantalizing hints of golden raisin grace the nostrils, in addition to agave nectar, lingonberry, red clover floret, new leather, wet limestone, and the time-worn presence of dunnage warehouses. Water brings out a happy note of vanilla sugar cookies, while also heightening the wood presence of French casks.

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Palate: Without water, Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy is absolutely huge, and yet still immanently quaffable. Right off the bat, it exudes well-worn leather, cream-drizzled crepes, milk chocolate . .  . all with a buttery-rich mouthfeel. On the back end of the palate, I’m getting a rather fleeting taste that reminds me of digestive bitter liqueur.

Finish: For those drinkers who do not relish tastes akin to an alcoholic bitter on the death, there is good news: in time, the influence tends to dissipate somewhat, leaving sweet flavors to reign supreme. Fifteen or twenty minutes in the glass is long enough. One of my favorite aspects of the 12-Year-Old Burgundy’s finish concerns a lip-smacking note of vanilla ice cream, which is followed by echoes of peppermint and American pralines.

Final Thoughts

Even at a whopping 53.5%, I prefer the Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy without water. Call me crazy, but I think the fact that I enjoy this particular dram without water is a testament to its craftsmanship, and also to its delicate nature for a cask strength offering. Lastly, it’s worth noting that a Burgundy influence is not prominent in the glass. I really do appreciate the fact that wine casks take the backseat gracefully here without a need to show off their grapiness.

As with so many limited and rare Springbank releases, Springbank 12-Year-Old Burgundy will probably be gone before the general public even knows about it, much less how good it is. That’s why it pays to be a member of Springbank Society (hint, hint). Members hear about these things months ahead of time, and they also enjoy special privileges when it comes to snagging rare bottles. All the more reason to join.

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