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
Feis Ile is knocking on our doors but let’s say one last goodbye to Springbank appreciation week and Campbeltown festival with the review of the 18 Year old duo from Springbank: the unpeated Springbank 18 and the peated Longrow 18.
Springbank 18 Year old (46%, €111.66)
Nose: sherry impact of berries, a bit dry, sweet honeyed vanilla and caramel, raisins, fruity. Rich and oily and just classic. Continue reading
Moving on with our Springbank appreciation week. Today is the open day at Springbank distillery and I’m very jealous of my three friends who visits the distillery today (on their way to Feis) and in their honor let’s review a trio (one for each friend) of official Springbank finishes.
The first one is the Gaja Barolo wood finish that spent four years in refill bourbon barrels, followed by another five further years in Gaja Barolo wine casks.
Springbank 9 Year old Gaja Barolo wood finish (54.7%, 11,000 bottles, £57.95/€69,95)
Nose: The wine impact is very strong here. Sweet and rich and definitely not drying. Wine and fruity, I wonder if the refill bourbon casks were 1st fill for max flavors as it does feels like that. After letting it breath in the glass, there’s less wine impact and more Bourbon impact and after adding some water there were still some grapes notes in it. Continue reading
Next in line is a review of the old NAS offering from Springbank which was discontinued, the Springbank CV and along with it we’ll review the Longrow CV which was replaced (or merely renamed) with Longrow Peated.
The CV name stands for Curriculum Vitae. Yes, similar to what’s going on with job interviews, it’s called this way as there’s a long road behind it – a vatting of different casks types and styles (bourbon, sherry and port wine) and different ages (7,10,14 years).
Springbank CV (46%, €33.95)
Nose: apples,pears, coconut, vanilla custard, spiciness, white pepper at first that it calms down and we get creamy and malty notes. Zesty, some dried fruits in background and sherry spices. Continue reading
Too many Springbank tasting notes with cobwebs on them so let’s have a Springbank week here on the blog. We’ll start with a blend, Spirit of Freedom 30 Year Old, which isn’t a true Springbank but is produced by J & A Mitchell, the owners of Springbank and probably contains some old Springbank spirit in it.
Spirit of Freedom was released to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 which is a big and important milestone for Scotland (read about it at Wikipedia as we’re focusing on whisky here :))
It is composed of 75% malt whisky (from five distilleries, one from each whisky region and I assume Springbank is the logical choice to represent Campbeldown region) and 25% grain whisky, from a mix of bourbon and sherry casks.
Springbank Spirit of Freedom 30yo (46%, 2014 bottles, £86.2)
Nose: A very relaxed nose as the maturation age is noticeable here. The nose harbors some herbal edge, old sweet grain, banana, sweet honey, sweet kumquat, coconut and dare I say there’s even some wax note here. Continue reading