Friday, 13 June 2014

Springbank Masterclass

I didn’t get Springbank.  Many people I speak to say the same.  However those that love it, really love it.  I know from long experience that this is a recipe for excellence and deep fun, so when I heard that TWE were running a Springbank masterclass I had to make it happen.

Definitely get it now.

Hazelburn 12 year old, 46%, A+

12 years in sherry casks.

hazelburn-12yo-2011 (1)Nose – Sweet, sour strawberry and juicy red fruit.  Lovely, assured, boiled sweets and wood structure.  Deep sherry integration, really smooth, nice petrol notes on top.

Body – Immediately exciting spice and wood, dark toffee, lots of clear malt.

Finish – A bit light, fantastic sulphur notes, well integrated, pretty easy going.  Lingering notes are sulphur and bitter toffee.


Hazelburn Rundlets and Kilderkins 2001, 50.1%, A⊕’

hazelburn-10-year-old-rundelts-and-kilderkins-whisky-250Nose – Immediately deeply sweet, bright toffee leather and red cherries, great wood depth.

Body – Spiced chocolate, a little chilli heat, sulphur is well contained and interesting.  Quite intense but intensely balanced and very good.

Finish – Very long, spicy, chocolaty, really quite intense and long lasting. Mexican chocolate, some bitterness.  Great balance.


Kilkerran WIP6 “Bourbon” 46% A⊕

Pre-release sample, Glengyle, 10 years old.

kilkNose – the same waxy backing but much more sharply sour, a little raw.  However, it does have deep toffee interest and on further investigation, quite the fruit bomb, with a future emphasis on waxy tropics.  *interested*

Body – Rich, spicy, dusting of drying peat, loads of balanced sweetness, herbal notes of lavender and rosemary.

Finish – Actually very long, rich and balanced.  Really delicious.  Finish results in some lingering bitterness against the toffee – perhaps some water will smooth it out.  With water, a little ashen – it’s reasonably peaty.


Kilkerran WIP6 “Sherry” 46% A

Pre-release sample, Glengyle, 10 years old.


Nose – Immediately more obvious, sweet shops, boiled sweets, very balanced approach to sherry.  Quite restrained but surprisingly deep.

Body – Immediate sulphur, rich and biscuit, malt loaf, molasses, creamy and (after all that, still) very balanced.

Finish – Quite short, a little fruity, good balance, some dried, dusty fruit at the end.


Springbank 12 years old, cask strength #7, 50.3% A⊕’

Lightly peated to 10ppm, 70% sherry, 30% bourbon casks.

springNose – Sweet cider.  Then bright, red cherries.  Deep cereal, dried strawberries, bright deodorant notes, freshly delivered oak furniture.  Some old bookcase – and finally, hazelnut toffee.

Body – Toffee and sulphur, immense balance and poise, green apples.  Lovely.

Finish – Extremely sweet, long and sulphured.  Great balance, long and interesting.  Wow.


Longrow NAS, 46% A+

Bourbon, sherry and rum casks – 6-14 years old.

longrow_peated_-_campbeltown_single_malt_scotch_whiskyNose – Light, bright and orchard fruit.  A little summery, sexy, feminine, dirtily waxed candle.  Extremely interesting.

Body – Tobacco (Marlboro lights), caramel, apple sauce, dark sherry, burnt oak.

Finish – Sulphur, loads of oak, bitter wood.  Very, very interesting, but all over the place.  Lingering BBQ competitions, and a touch of soap.  Challenging but fascinating – sharp and wooden.  Ghostly peated, lingering grapefruit hull.  I’m a fan.


Longrow Red “Port Cask”, 55-58%? A⊕+

Pre-release.  This is 11 years fully aged in port casks, and will be released in September (when I’ll be buying it).

longNose – Winey, sour strawberries.  Dark and bright cherries.  Really massive nose – a little coastal, red chew sweets, bookcase, old books, library and plastic book covers, bright tannins.

Body – Massively sweet, sulphured, boiled sweets overload but balanced by a delivery that includes long, drying spice and tannins.   Wonderful arrival.

Finish – Long, sulphurous, but delicious strawberry sweetness.  With water, the wine mellows and the whole arrival becomes more smooth and balanced.


Springbank 1999 14 year old, local barley.  57.8% A⊕+

Springbank society only.  The barley comes from a local (as the crow flies) farm 8 miles away (Machrie Moor).  All refill sherry casks.  This will be generally available in 2 years’ time as a 16 year old, in the meantime it’s (at the time of writing) still available as a Springbank Society bottle (membership of the society is £50 for life).

localNose – Waxed, fresh green apple.  Some cider, great warmth.  Subtle wax and sulphur, dark and dank fecundity.  A little grapefruit.

Body – Enormous warmth and body, long sulphurous wax, dark and brooding.  The arrival is stunning, just amazing balance and intensity.

Finish – Extremely long, cherried, beautiful.

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