Springbank expression sitting on a dusty shelf in my neighborhood deli. I don't quite remember when they discontinued this release but it's been a while... Actually they used to have two different kinds of 100 proof bottlings back then: UK version was bottled at 57.0% abv (100 British proof) and matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks and the US version was bottled at 50.0% abv (100 American proof) and matured in a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. So, this one is the US release...
Color: Bright yellow, Chardonnay color with fast legs around the glass.
Nose: Very briny... Ocean spray, damp black gardening soil and bonfire. Wet beach sand and smoked kippers. Way more coastal than any other current Springbank bottlings. A few drops of water add lemon juice, cornichons and cured red meat. Nuttier now, salted fresh almonds and roasted hazelnuts. Dill pickles. Amazing nose...
Palate: Creamy and thick texture. Salted butter and American gose beer, salty and tart. Carpenter's shop, wood shavings and toasted lumber. Adding water thins out the texture a little but I think it's worth it: Olive brine, green rosemary leaves and green malt. Savory crispy pastries, white wine vinegar and grilled asparagus.
Finish: Long with black pepper, dried red pepper flakes, soot and unsweetened cranberry juice.
Overall: You would think that it will taste like the regular 10yo at a higher abv but it doesn't. Even when you bring it down to a lower abv it is definitely saltier, more coastal and nuttier then the 10yo. It feels like it has a higher percentage of ex-bourbon barrels in the vat then the regular 10yo... I actually can understand why they discontinued this release though. It is confusing to have two different expressions with the same label on both sides of the Atlantic to start with and it doesn't feel like a big departure from the 10yo bottling. If it was still around probably I would never buy a bottle of regular 10yo and stick with this one. Therefore I agree with the decision of dropping the 100 proof expression and adding the 12yo Cask Strength to the line instead. It is a simple but big and bold whisky... I am glad that I found this. I don't think that there are many bottles left around.