Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Three Independent Springbanks

A couple of NAS boutique-y single malt springers and a truly epic (of course) SMWS single cask.  Oh the intensity!

Springbank Batch 1, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 54.6% A⊕

springbanklabel-bigNose - Warm wax, floral elegance, sweet, ripe fruit - cherry, peach - and a good backbone of cereal and old oak.  Just lovely, this is the kind of nose that got me into whisky.  With water, more wax and something medicinal from my childhood - Amoxicillin - and chew sweets, and a beautiful deep, sulphured sweetness.  And some hobnobs.  Love it.

Body - Unexpectedly spicy and sharp.  Doesn’t really take any prisoners undiluted.  With water, lots more sweet shop notes and toffee come through, and loads of numbing sulphur.

Finish - Long bitterness undiluted.  With water that classy, oily sulphured note comes through more, although it’s still a little bitter.

What’s not good about it - A little thin in the delivery diluted, harsh and bitter without water.

What’s good about it - But a fantastic nose, everything I could hope for in the nose, and lovely richness and fruit in the delivery. 

Sold out, but samples still available.

Springbank Batch 2, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 53.1% A⊕

That_Boutique-y_Whisky_Company_-_Springbank_Batch_2Nose - Wow.  Happily very similar to batch one but with the bright fruit turned up a notch and the darkly brooding wax turned down a notch.  Bright, complex wax, juicy red and tropical fruit, hubba bubba, and all backed by toasty new fence panels.  Lovely.  With water, the wood complexity comes up a notch and the fruit doesn’t suffer.

Body - That’s better - rich fruit and tobacco, tons of wood and dark furniture polish.  With water, I think I prefer it slightly less initially but the end is better balanced..

Finish - Long, long, and very bitter undiluted.  A lingering waxy tropicality and coastal peat.  Challenging but very good.

What’s not good about it - A bit unbalanced, a bit chaotic.

What’s good about it - But very interesting for it.  Also it’s a wonderful, complex and satisfying whisky to drink.  Buy now.

Comparing batch 1 and 2:

n - 1 is dark, more sulphured, more smoke and better balanced.  2 is more sweetly fruited, still stunning and more floral.  1 just takes it on grounds of elegance but both are stunning.

b - 1 is overall classier, more sulphured and spicy.  2 has a little less aggression but still provides many of the same experiences with a little more fruit.  

Overall - there’s very little in this.  Batch 1 is my preference, but only just, and objectively the 2 might actually be better.  Batch 1 is a bit OTT on the spice but makes up for it with superior sulphur and wood.  Batch 2 is still awesome, and batch 1 is sold out, so…

SMWS 27.92, Springbank, Wake-up call, 10 years old, 53.5%  A⊕+

March 31 2000, Refill ex-bourbon barrel.  Bought and (AFAIK) only available as part of the (excellent) Surf and Turf Seaside BBQ “might minis” set of four 10cl bottles.

27.92Nose - Go go go SMWS!  Enormous intensity and balance of refreshing, juicy fruit, waxed marker pens, cherry and almond.  Absolutely delicious and so fresh and fruity.  Balancing notes are oily, slightly coastal, furniture polish and Victorian oak floorboards.  Stunning.

Body - Sweet, ice pops, fruit, balancing sulphur and wax all the way.

Finish - Long, sweet, balanced but staggers a little with the bitterness, recovered by oily complexity.  What a whisky.

What’s not good about it - You can only buy it as part of a set of 4 minis.  I need at least a litre of this.

What’s good about it - A perfect, delicious and incredibly expensive Springbank nose.  Doesn’t let you down in the delivery either.  Lots of oily, coastal, sulphured wood and fruit.  Fabulous.

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