I’ve finally lay my hands on a bottle of the hyped and highly sought-after Springbank Local Barley 11. It’s a refreshing change after striking out with last year’s 16 year old.
It’s the second Local Barley release (out of planned five) and this time it’s Bere Barley (Last year it was Prisma) grown in Aros Farm in Kintyre (near Campbeltown). It was malted in Springbank malting floor, distilled February 2006 and bottled in 2017. Let’s check it out!
Springbank Local Barley 11 Year Old (2006-2017) (53.1%)
Nose: What a weird nose at first after opening it. Big time funk with heavy glue note. Some greenery (like those green tomatoes), weak peat smoke and strong maltiness, then a hint of white pepper, green and fresh eucalyptus leaves (almost mint). The industrial glue turns to makeshift glue from flour and water (like kids do in kindergarten), green tomatoes again with diesel oil – more like a traditional Springbank. After a few minutes in the glass, the fruitiness appears and takes over, pears and apricots with perfume edge but the funk stays to balance it. Phew, not a friendly one!
Palate: Big funk and overall dirtiness, stronger peat smoke, malt porridge, honey, Oily but less than the usual for a Springbank, big metallic edge and after a while the fruitiness too.
Finish: Short medium length, stays very dirty, lingering metallic note, green tomatoes leaves, honey sweetness and gentle oak.
Thoughts: Well, this is not a whisky for novices at all. It needs time and care because it’s a tough and bold whisky, but it does rewards patience so be armed with it when you drink it and I believe it will get even better now after some oxidization. And to answer the unavoidable question: It’s different from last years’ release, but head to head, the 16 Year Old is better and more accessible, not that I’m sorry for having a bottle of this one – I intend to enjoy it.