Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Springbank 17 year old, Sherry wood

It feels like it’s taken me way too long to write this review – I’ve been “tasting it” since the whisky show.  It’s a great whisky, but unfortunately my friend Cuan pointed out that it costs pretty much the same as the society only bottling that’s one of my favourite whiskies ever. 

These are both good, and actually very different, despite the similar price.  If you’re going to buy the 17, I recommend you do not delay, it’s pretty much sold out – still available at the time of writing here.

Springbank 17 year old, Sherry wood, 52.3% A⊕

springbank-17-year-old-sherry-wood-whiskyNose – Deeply sweet and sour, not enormously sherried but very Springbank.  Deodorant, old permanent markers, ozone, wet oak, plastic book cover and sawdust.  Lovely, fresh, bright and clean, some orange, some crayon.  Maybe too clean – but Springbank gets clean and elegant sooner (age wise) than many other malts.

Body – Now the sherry – deep, ripe toffee, engine oil and light peat.  Lovely crayon.  Fabulous sulphur and lingering cherry.  A cracker.  With water, juicier and more complex.

Finish – Long, sulphured, burnt toffee and oak.  Very good.

What’s not good about it – Like the Springbank 18, it’s starting to play the elegant game a bit early, and the many litres of 12 and 15 year old Springbank in my collection will attest to my enjoyment of younger springers.

What’s good about it – Complex, elegant and captivating.  Almost perfect spirit sulphur balance, really meaty with balancing sweetness.  This rocks. 

Springbank local barley, 14 years old, for the Springbank society, 57.8% A⊕+

Refill sherry butt.  September 1999 to April 2014, 546 bottles.  I first reviewed this at the Springbank Masterclass at TWE back in June 2014, where I caught the bug.  This was partially due to this whisky (but equally due to the 12 year old cask strength).

20150217_203055Nose – Immediately more winey.  Spicy like a summer pudding on the nose with raisins, grains, and stewed apple.  Intense, dark and brooding.  An epic nose.  Adding water, even “quite a lot of water” intensifies the fruit and Springbank character.  More engines, more magic balloons, more cherries.

Body – But it’s the delivery that really swings it.  Enormous depths of toffee, sulphur and red fruit. Water brings out fresh chalk and fruit toffee, and intensifies the oil and overall experience.

Finish – Long, spicy, hot and oily.  Springbank on 11.  And one to explore with water and lots of time. 

What’s not good about it – Perhaps it’s too intense?   

What’s good about it – The epitome of Springbank. Even with the £50 joining fee (for life) this is worth joining the Springbank society for (by which I mean it’s worth £130 to me).  It’s still in stock.

Comparing the two?  It’s a bit like comparing the Springbank 15 and 18.  The 18 is obviously a bit less in your face and elegant, it’s an excellent whisky.  But the 15 just brings a massive smile to your face.  Here, the local barley is deeper, darker, meatier, more intense and just a massive whisky.  The 17 is much more elegant and gluggable.  But I prefer the big grin.

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