I really like the Springbank Local Barley series. So far four different expressions were released, each using different barley strains, different ages and different casks combination.
The latest one is the 9 Year Old which was released late 2018. It’s distilled from Optic barley strain (grown locally of course), and was aged for just 9 years (after having 16, 11 and 10 year old). The casks mix is 80% Bourbon & 20% Sherry casks (For your reference, the 10 year old had a casks mix of 70% Bourbon and 30% Sherry).
Shall we see how does it fare in comparison?
Springbank Local Barley 9 Year Old (57.7%, 9700 bottles)
Nose: Intense and rich, Lots of caramel and greenery notes, honey, green sweet peat, motor oil, grease. After a few minutes it becomes more ‘green’ and honeyed and there are pears, peaches and caramel toffee and perfume-y edge.
Palate: Caramel, greenery, honey, white pepper, dry, limestone rock dust, After a few minutes pears and more honey.
Finish: Medium length, dry and dusty, honey and caramel, greenery.
Thoughts: On paper the difference between this 9 Year Old and last year 10 Year Old is 10% less Sherry casks but the truth is that it’s a totally different whisky. The sherry cask aren’t notable felt in the 9 Year Old and it’s more of a farm-y and greenery beast (while the 10 Year Old is closer to the 12 Cask Strength offering). The majority of the participants in two Springbank tasting events I held a month ago voted it as the best Springbank of the event and I cannot blame them. In fact, I too really dig it and love it too.