Springbank – cult whisky & a blonde with a cult following.

Procrastinate. Verb. To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.

A while ago (quite a while, I hang my head in shame) I went to the launch of Springbank Whisky hosted by Liquidity at French Toast Wine, that superb wine and food spot in trendy Bree Street.  This review is a bit delayed and in accordance with my custom of avoiding personal responsibility for things that go wrong, I will blame the excitement of Whisky Live Festival for not allowing me time to write.

You don’t read my reviews for tasting notes – there are many other places you can find that sort of detailed analysis.  Hopefully you read to find out what makes this whisky special and know that I only write about whisky I enjoy.  Being an unpaid independent gives me that freedom of expression, a decent conscience and occasionally the liquor companies pass a wee dram my way.

So…Springbank…what is it about? It is of the last of the family owned distilleries and has a cult following.  Those who know, enjoy it tremendously.  Today when international conglomerates own most distilleries it is nice to have an independent around, doing good business.  They survive because they produce great whisky, without compromise.  Springbank is distinctive as the spirits go through two and half distillations, instead of the usual two for spirit distilled in Scotland. The signature coastal notes and salty sweetness give the whisky something unique. I like it.  The 10, 15 and 18 are now available in South Africa and there are going to be limited quantities of the cask strength 12 year old, so move quickly.

How is Springbank’s arrival and distribution through Liquidity going to impact South African whisky lovers? Firstly, availability. Liquidity brought Patron into the country and made it a massive success.  They are a passionate and skilled group and getting behind Springbank will ensure that whisky lovers will be exposed to Springbank and are able to obtain stock.  The whiskies, particularly the 15 year old, should be in everyone’s cabinet.  Secondly, through the education of the on-consumption staff at hotels and restaurants.  Emil Den Dulk is passionate and knowledgeable and his recruit Charlotte Spicer (who seems to have developed a cult following of her own, judging from the comments I received from the male patrons at Whisky Live Festival) will share their knowledge with the people who pour the drinks.

The launch party was a good affair, with canapés, chat, clinking glasses and of course, great whisky.  My personal favourite was the 15 year old,  perfectly balanced and complex. It retails round the R 840 mark and regrettably the glass I poured myself is now empty. So excuse me while I pour another –and I hope you will soon be able to do the same.

Oh, prices: Expect to pay

R 570 for the 10;

R 690 for the 12;

R 839 for the 15;

R 1150 for the 18.


  1. It’s not the last of the family owned distilleries: Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich (and, by extension, Balvenie and Kininvie), Bladnoch, Benromach, Abhainn Dearrg, Loch Ewe, Edradour, Daftmill, Isle of Arran all fall into the “family-owned” category. Because it is owned by a charitable trust set up by the Robertson family, you could also argue that the Edrington Group (Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes and Glenturret distilleries, Grouse, Cutty Sark) is “family-owned”.

    1. Thanks John – not the last, but unfortunately of, or among the last. I really enjoy your blog and look forward to sharing a dram with you if you are ever in Cape Town.

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