Springbank Week – Part VI: Springbank Vintage 1997 (Batch 1)

The casks composing this expression were personally chosen Springbank’s Director of Production at the time, Frank McHardy, and Distillery Manager Stuart Robertson. Frank McHardy is one of the most highly respected master distillers in the industry, who retired last year after a long and fruitful career in the industry spanning almost four decades. He started working at Invergordon in 1963 and worked at Tamnavulin, Bruichladdich , Bushmills and Springbank over those four decades. He also oversaw the reopening of the Glengyle distillery in 2000-2004, and totes that as the highlight of his career.

I’ll go out on a tangent here and put a link to a wonderful video of Frank telling the story of Glengyle, for two reasons: First, I don’t see a series on Kilkarran coming in the near future and this year marks the 10 year point since the first distillation. And, second, we’ve hashed out most of the important stuff there is to say about Springbank itself, and I hope you took the Ralfy video walk through referred to in the first post of the series here.

So if you want to watch the interview with Frank, go right ahead, and if not, roll down and read my tasting notes on the Vintage 1997:

On to the review of the Vintage 1997. I’ll just mention that this whisky was matured in re-charred sherry butts, which is an unusual treatment for the butts at Springbank, and the final product is different than the core expressions’ sherry influence.

1997 Springbank Vintage Batch 1 Cask Strength (55.2 ABV, NCF, NC)

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com


Color: Deep copper, slow legs.

Nose: Apricots, dried fruit, light hint of peat, sharp honey, honeysuckle flowers and a fresh fruit basket.

Palate: Gentle spice, very gentle cinnamon and green apples.

Linger: Long and peppery in the base of the throat.



This is a beautiful expression, with the sherry toned down due to the re-charring. This whisky loves water, and takes it quite well. I ended up dripping in two squirts of a pipette, so I would gauge it at an addition of about 15% water to the 20 ml tasting.

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