Last night at the BTC 2017 competition we had Springbank 14 Year Old Bourbon Wood that was bottled last August and it was quite an infuriating experience. I tasted it, took notes, filled in my guess and continued to drink a few more drams with a friend and one of those drams was also this Springbank 14 Bourbon. So I had the same whisky twice in a single night, just a few drams apart but oh what different notes did I take for each of them. Luckily I got points for age and ABV (12yo and 55%) but if I’d had any resemblence between the notes, I could get more points. Bah!
Here are the notes I had for the blind dram:
Nose: A bit floral and green, salty, honey, white pepper, hard candies and pears, dusty, malt and cereals.
Palate: salt, greenery, honey, white pepper and gentle oak spices.
Finish: medium-long length, gentle fruit sweetness, pepper heat.
Would you guess a Springbank whisky based on those notes? Well, I didn’t. And here are the notes I had for the bottle I tasted later:
Springbank 14 Year Old Bourbon Wood (55.8%, €94,99)
Nose: Restrained, tons of sweet honey and the Springbank funk is there right behind the sweetness with dirt, oils, green vines and exhaust fumes. Very dominant cask influence. Continue reading
Today’s review is the entry level from Springbank distillery, the 10 year old offering that sometimes sneak below the radar as the 12 Year Old Cask Strength batches catch most of the lime lights.
The review was conducted on a bottle that was bottled in September 2016 (with the older label design), although I think the profile didn’t change much with the newer 2017 batches. And in order to make it interesting, I’ll review the 10 year old from 10 years ago (10 and 10, got it?) to see how did it change over the years.
Springbank 10 Year Old (46%, Bottled Sep 2016, £39.90/€37.95)
Nose: Starts with a sweet buffet with honey, vanilla and cereals. Then some Campbeltown magic enters the stage with a very soft funk. Mix of greenery, petrol, hay and pastry, becoming very oily. With time: fruitier, orchard, red fruit and berries and nuttiness, nutmeg and cinnamon. Continue reading
The Longrow Red 13 Malbec is the fifth entry The Longrow Red series and is the third Campbeltown whisky review I post in the last 10 days, I’d say they were busy there in the last few months, ah?
This year edition was delayed and so we earned another year on the age statement going up from 12 to 13 this year (Noticed the creeping up trend? We’ve started with 11 years old statement for the first three releases). It was aged for 12 years in bourbon barrels and then finished for another 15 months in Malbec casks. I loved the last edition (the Pinot Noir cask) very much so was looking forward trying this very eagerly.
Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Matured (51.3%, £62.50/€89,90)
Nose: Soft peat smoke, lots of red fruit, sour berries and unripe plums, winey, Honey, chimney smoke on the beach, Velvety but has a dry side due to the wine tannins. After a while it’s even more fruity with strawberries and with back-end smoked meat. Continue reading
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