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The Springbank Single Cask Conundrum

Master of Malt Springbank 1993 Cask Samples

It’s always nice getting an email from the folks over at Master of Malt – especially when it presents the reader with an interesting proposition: would you help us choose a Springbank cask for a MoM bottling? As First World problems go, it’s not a bad one to have don’t you think? Here’s the letter sent out by Ben Ellefsen, Sales Director at Master of Malt:

Dear Mark,

We’ve got a problem.

Admittedly, it’s along the lines of a choice between a free Ferrari, or a free Lamborghini, but it’s a problem nonetheless.

We’ve been given the opportunity to acquire a cask of Springbank, dating from 1993 – but due to the various machinations of the deal, can only bottle one as a single cask. Also due to the machinations of the deal, we’ve received ‘samples’ equating to one 70cl bottle instead of the usual dribble in the bottom of a plastic shampoo bottle.

In the spirit of sharing this bounty, I’ve enclosed two samples, one of each cask, and would be very grateful for any feedback you have as to which one you prefer.

The easiest way to give this is probably via twitter (I’m on @masterofmalt) – you can even use the hashtag #Springbank1993 if you so choose.

Many thanks in advance for your feedback.


Ben Ellefsen
Sales Director
Master of Malt

A rather long couple of weeks have passed since the mail was sent including a follow-up mail from Cat, MoM’s Head of Marketing, nudging me for a response. True to form however, it takes a while for things to trickle their way down to the southern tip of Africa. I’m happy to report though that the samples arrived on November 9th (my birthday – great coincidence wasn’t it? 🙂 ) and I’ve now had a chance to sit down and taste them…

I like fast cars as much, if not more, than the next guy. But instead of comparing a Ferrari to a Lamborghini as Ben hinted at in his email, I opted to compare two stunning, talented actresses that must be on the ménage à trois shortlist of all hot-blooded males out there.

Master of Malt Springbank 1993 Cask #482

Master of Malt Springbank 1993 Cask #482 – The Charlize Theron Cask

Very reminiscent of the gorgeous blonde superstar: über-sexy, brimming with confidence, decidedly elegant and yet feet firmly planted on the ground. This whisky is closer to Springbank’s signature style than #129. Nose: A briny, acetone-like nose laced with hints of pineapple and a very subtle dried herbs. Mineral notes are present too. Palate: Sweet as it rolls over the tongue, then the salt washes away the sweetness before it turns bitter and woody (not excessively though). A drop or two of water brings out some liquorice and smoke before the bitterness kicks in with a vengeance – literally curling up the sides of my tongue! Finish: Not a very long finish. Impressions: My guess is that the ABV is around 48-52%. I quite enjoyed the nose but wasn’t overly enamoured with the palate. Each to his own I guess.

Master of Malt Springbank 1993 Cask #129

Master of Malt Springbank 1993 Cask #129 – The Christina Hendricks Cask

It’s as though they’ve bottled this vivacious, sultry redhead: possibly a first or second refill sherry butt? Nose: The sherry is present in this dram, but not overpowering. Sticky toffee pudding in liquid form with red berries and cinnamon. Palate: cherry-flavoured lollipops, red and black pepper, icing sugar. A drop of water warms and smooths the rough edges off the spices and tames the sugar making for an altogether warmer, richer taste. Finish: A longer finish for me than the cask #482. Impressions: I just keep thinking fairground/amusement park – wow, love it! As for ABV, perhaps slightly lower than the other Springbank?

So which is my favourite? Well that’s quite easy… As much as I would like my fellow South African Charlize take the win, I’m going to have to give the victory to Christina – Springbank Cask #129 for the win! A personal choice for sure. Cask #482 wasn’t bad, just not my preferred style. I would say the following to the team at Master of Malt: get on the blower with the chaps selling you the cask and renegotiate the deal. Two casks are better than one!

Thanks as always for the chance to try out something new Ben & Cat. It was good fun pitting them against each other. 🙂 Whichever cask you go for just know it’s going to sell, and sell fast.


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