After a few years that Springbank Distillery was quiet on their Hazelburn (Springbank unpeated triple distillation) front, in the last year we’ve been treated with two special/limited editions of Hazelburn in different casks. First came the Hazelburn 9 Year Old that was finished for a few years in Barolo wine casks, which was real good whisky. And now we have a 13 Year Old Hazelburn that was aged in a mix of first fill and refill Oloroso casks. Now, first fill Oloroso casks can be very dominating and with the delicate nature of Hazelburn spirit and with extra four years (over the Barolo expression), it was interesting to see if Springbank has managed to get the balance right here and how much of the Hazelburn nature has been preserved here.
Hazelburn 2003 13 Year Old Oloroso Cask (47.1%, £59.99/€67.99)
Nose: My first taste of the Hazelburn was after tasting the Kilkerran 8 (review to follow later this week) and it felt too mellow and watery, but the second time around was much better, tasting it at the beginning of the evening. Sweet Oloroso sherry impact, raisins, dried fruit, milk chocolate and cocoa, then a generous dash of Campbeltown funk (unpeated or not you can’t avoid it) with petrol, car exhaust fumes and farm greenery. After it breathed in the glass, there were extra berries and it becomes more sherried and less Campbeltown-y. Overall it felt a tad thin behind the sherry (‘thanks’ to the Hazelburn triple distillate). Continue reading
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! Continue reading
Last few weeks I’ve been very busy hunting down a bottle of Springbank Local Barley 11 Year Old (after totally missing out acquiring one of the 16 year old the previous year), so in honor of this pursuit let’s review one of Springbank distillery popular line up anchors – The Springbank 12 Year Old.
Unlike the other members of the core range which are bottled at 46%, the 12 Year Old is bottled in Cask strength with 14 different batches so far and Batch 12 is the one reviewed here today thanks to a friend who supplied me a hefty sample.
This batch was bottled in 2016 and unlike most of the batches, it’s a vatting of 65% Sherry casks and 35% Bourbon casks instead of usual 70/30 rate and was bottled at a whopping 54.1%
Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 12 (54.1%, €64,99 )
Nose: Starts with a big bouquet of fruitiness with strong flavor of sweet red berries and then there’s some Campeltown funk, diesel fumes, oils, some greenery and a dash of green herbals. Blood oranges, toffee, funk spices and nuttiness shows up too. after a while the fruitiness is back and is beautifully balanced with the Campbeltown funk. Full body, very smooth and gentle for its age and ABV.
Palate: Here’s the dirty Springbank notes with that funk, spices, oak, peat and smoke, but also kept in check with strong fruitiness, yes again those red fruit mix leads the way but there are strong strawberries notes, oils and green tomatoes, classic!
Finish: Overall I’d say it’s medium length with fruitiness, warm spices and oak, fresh sweet ripe red fruit but it has a very long and lingering funky peat and greenery. Continue reading
Whenever a new “Limited Edition” whisky expression is released to the market you can hear the rising “oh no” cries from the casual drinkers and distillery fans mixed with their excitement and the glee of whisky investors and flippers. Too often, those limited editions are either too expensive for their age and/or quality and their circulation is too small to sate the market demand and so they are hard to find or get sold out very quickly.
But there are exceptions. Some expressions and some distilleries do manage to find a proper balance of price and bottles count, making sure even late comers can fetch a bottle and Springbank 12 Year Old Burgundy wood is a good example. Initially released in May/June 2016 for £65 (€95-€99), it’s still available out there in Europe and across the USA albeit with some price markup in some countries. The secret? A larger than usual edition of 10260 bottles of 12 year old springbank whisky that was matured in fresh Burgundy wine casks.
Springbank 12 Year Old Burgundy (53.5%, €109.95/$119.99)
Nose: What a rich nose! A very heavy wine influence, sour red fruits, peat, motor oils and the Campbeltown funk just behind it, rich on the front but hints at dryness, nuts, tannins and fruits glazed with brown sugar. Great combo of funk and sweet fruity wine. Continue reading
Today is Springbank day at the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2016 and while nowadays Springbank whiskies are cherished and loved by many whisky geeks (myself included), it’s a good opportunity to look back at a bit old version of Springbank 10 Year Old and see how its’ profile is vastly changed from the current familiar Springbank profile that encompass the entire current lineup.
The sample I tasted came from a miniature that is predating the current revision on the market and I believe it was bottled early 2000s or late 1990s.
Springbank 10 Year Old (46%)
Nose: Oh this is a bit unusual Springbank. Without sherry at all (so I think) and with a very farmy and malty profile. There’s a weak like smelling from far-away peat smoke, engines oil, honey, fields fertilizer, lemon and tangerines peels. After a while it gets dirtier with added citrus notes. Continue reading
Not all whisky releases were born equal as some of those releases are highly sought after for various reasons such as excellence, investment, collectability, distillery preference, etc. But setting price to such whiskies is a tricky job. Take the new Springbank Local Barley 16 YO as an example.
The Springbank Local Barley series has a great reputation, and Springbank has a large group of loyal followers and since the last LB bottling was in 2001, it’s understandable why it flew off the shelves in a matter of hours, even with quite a large batch size of 9000 bottles and a RRP of £95. But that price tag caught my eyes and invoked the musings in the next few paragraphs.
If you look at that price, isolating it from the hype parameters (distillery name, provenance, etc), you’d instantly think it’s too expensive. Come on, you wouldn’t pay that sum for a 16 year old ex-bourbon whisky from an anonymous distillery, right? I know I’d pay maybe £50 or £60 for such whisky but no more. But instead, we faced a price tag £35-£40 higher than what reasonably expected.
I’ve seen a couple of threads on the internet where people were trying to justify the pricing of the local barley release: Continue reading
Longrow RED 12 is the 4th installment in the Longrow RED series. I had reviewed the first one on the blog (right here) and liked it a lot. I also happened to taste the 3rd one (full maturation in port casks) and here comes the new one which deviate from the 11 years formula with additional one year as it’s 12 Year old.
But it’s not the only noteworthy change. Previous editions were fully matured (port cask) or finished for a couple of years (4 years for Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 years for the Australian Shiraz) and this 2015 edition is finished in Pinot Noir for only 1 year. How much influence can the cask impart on the whisky during a single year?
Longrow RED 12 Year Old (Pinot Noir Cask Finish) (52.9%, £65/€75/$109.99)
Nose: Light smoke and sweet peat but the wine shine through with sweet fruit notes at first and then it incorporates some sour red berries, earthy red wine notes. Not many wine tannins here probably because of the short finish period. With additional time and air exposure, it’s getting sherry-like spiciness with nutmeg and cinnamon. With water: smoke is gone, but it’s sweeter with added spiciness. Continue reading