The Auchentoshan Springwood is one their travel retail exclusives, and neither the packaging nor the bottle itself feature any age statement. To the eye, it is a pale barley in colour- and the packing label confirms that caramel colouring has been added.
On the nose, the malt gives notes of peach and dry fruit, with notes of dark chocolate giving a full under-layer. With a dash of water, a nice tropical whiff comes once the malt is aired, with some hints of dates. To the palate, the malt is spirity and full, dry and nutty. A subtle fruity vein runs through it, stopping short of staying through the full swallow. At 40% ABV, this palate does not really make it for an exciting malt.
If I were to compare, the Springwood does not come close to the 12 YO in character- but travel retail offerings are not really meant to be the best expression of a distillery's potential. In my view, travel retail offerings give a wide sample of any distillery's experiments, allowing the Master Distillers to bring out various ranges that they can test across a diverse audience in a short time. I wouldn't buy the Springwood again, but I certainly will try the Auchentoshan Heartwood if I come across it- if only to see more of Auchentoshan's range.
Eye - pale barley
Nose - peach, dark chocolate
Palate - dry, nutty, peachy fruit
ABV - 40%