Aged for 12 years, this whisky is finished in casks that were formerly used to mature calvados, a type of French brandy made from apples.
Nearly two centuries ago, the town of Campbeltown, located on a narrow peninsula in southwest Scotland, was considered the whisky capital of the world. Passengers arriving by sea at Campbeltown Loch, nestled between Macringan's Point and the rocky island of Davaar, were greeted with the sails and masts of the herring fishing fleet and the smoking chimneys of nearly thirty different distilleries that called Campbeltown home. Two hundred years later, Campbeltown Loch is considerably quieter and only three chimneys continue to billow smoke — each acting as a beacon for an industry that, at one point, dominated the peninsula.
In 1828, Springbank Distillery was founded on the site of Archibald Mitchell's illicit still in Campbeltown (today, Mitchell's great-great-great-grandson owns the distillery). Within ten years, its whisky was so well-regarded that a blender by the name of Johnnie Walker
purchased 118 gallons of whisky from Springbank at 43 pence a gallon.
By the turn of the century — as worldwide demand for Scotch whisky seemed insatiable — distilleries throughout Scotland began cutting corners and outsourcing parts of the distillation process. Springbank Distillery, however, remained true to its Scottish heritage. Today, it remains one of only two distilleries in Scotland to perform every step of the whisky making process — from malting barley to bottling whisky — on the same premises.
After malting and lightly peating the barley (using locally cut peat), Springbank Distillery mills and mashes it in cast-iron mash tuns that are nearly a century old. The pure spring water used during the mashing process is sourced from Crosshill Loch, which in turn is fed by springs seeping from the northern slopes of 1100-foot tall Beinn Ghuilean. After mashing the grains, the wash is slowly fermented over the course of 70 hours — one of the longest fermentation processes in Scotland — before being distilled 2.5 times (because some of the wash is distilled twice and some is distilled three times, Springbank Whisky is said to be distilled 2.5 times).
Following distillation, Springbank 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Calvados Finish is matured for six years in refill American oak casks that were previously used to mature bourbon. After its initial maturation, the whisky is double-barreled, or finished, in ex-calvados casks for an additional six years (calvados is a type of French brandy distilled from apples). "We're always looking for new types of casks to try and the calvados is the latest in the series," says Gavin McLachlan, Springbank's Distillery Manager. "The important thing from our point of view when it comes to buying casks is that, first of all, the physical quality of the cask is sound—the cask is well-made and won't leak. We also take into account the quality of the product which the cask previously contained and, obviously, the flavor that product will give. The calvados casks we used for this bottling ticked all of those boxes."
Springbank 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Calvados Finish has a golden maple color, along with an aroma of citrus, apples and butterscotch. The aroma gives way to notes of creamy vanilla, apple cider, pears and figs on the palate, which are complemented by a touch of spices. The finish is long and satisfying, with notes of red fruits, orange marmalade and honeyed oak.
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105.4 (52.7% ABV)
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Golden maple color. Aroma of citrus, apples and butterscotch. Notes of creamy vanilla, apple cider, pears and figs on the palate, which are complemented by a touch of spices. Finish is long and satisfying, with notes of red fruits, orange marmalade and honeyed oak.