Saturday, 29 July 2017

Unrelated Springbanks

From the sublime to the ridiculous?

Springbank 32 years old, bottled 2004, 46% A⊕

sb32Nose - One of those noses that pushes and pulls you, evocative but ethereal, with wood, ripe orchard fruit, glues and solvents. There's light truffle, ham with melon, a sherbet dibdab and a little perfume.

Body - Unexpectedly creamy and white, floral with white emulsion paint and Sauternes.

Finish - Extremely long, quite drying with a ghostly sweetness. Mouth-watering tannins at the end, candied ginger and a touch of cigar. Peppery in the end.

A light, old whisky, beautiful and evocative. A great experience, thanks Cuan (and that guy you got it off!).

Cage Springbank, Duty Free Sample, 17 years old, Refill sherry, 49.3% A⊕

Pineapple cubes.

IMG_2594Nose - At first it's one of those hollow-ish, cereal springers, the immediate oils backed by hard minerality and fence panel. But then there's lemon toffee, rescue remedy and birthday candles with lemon buttercream icing. Breath deep and it's warmer, gentler with perfume and melting lemon sorbet.

Body - And again, the delivery is a surprise. Very mature, complex and elegant, it's bone dry, dusty with old (if heavy) peat and something very special in the balance here. Why does Springbank mature so quickly? Hotter and more robust with water, although sweeter with more toffee.

Finish - Long and peppery, good tropicality in the fizzing, peated end. Light lemon and mango rinds at the very end.

A robust, complicated, well matured and delicious Springbank, great variety and quality in these cage bottles.

Springbank 14 years old, Guadalope Rum cask, Edinburgh Cadenhead's 30th bottling, A+

I need to compare this to the open day bottling.

IMG_2595Nose - Lots of rum on the nose here, overtaking the Springbank. Together they are surprisingly tropical, even though the rum notes and deep, dry and dank. And they become more and more integrated the longer you dig, in the end neither dominating.

Body - Intense, fascinating. Again there's that "this is rumsky" followed by flashes of Springbank and huge quantities of fruit - orange, dusty pineapple - with menthol cigarettes. Creamier, cakier, fruitier with water.

Finish - Long, hot and intensely rum led, with mead and honeycomb. Very long with water, lots of peppered honeycomb.

An absolutely delicious spirit to drink, full of dark, tropical complexity, but what is it?

Springbank Society, 9 years old, Sauternes casks, 57.1% A+

The first ever vatting for the society, 1128 bottles (I assume 4 casks). Reviewed in micro-note form previously. Everyone at my table at the tasting we had this at loved this and was cooing over the price and quality, and I really enjoyed it too, but I've heard grumblings since. Things are different at festivals to home.

IMG_2596Nose - There's that intensity I remembered. It's deep and intensely sweet, like a blackcurrant mirror glaze, like a coffee cake, but there is of course balance and integrity in the nose, which I remember from the day. And past that there's Springbank spirit - it has that special edge (I'm wondering if it's the wet peat that does it?). Slightly less special with water but a little more approachable.

Body - Soft, rich, creamy and heavy on the black fruit again, with a little cigar tobacco and a balancing bitterness (melon rind). More tobacco, less fruit with water.

Finish - Medium and fizzing, with more of that fruit/cigar and compelling tannins.

My first impression still stands - a really delicious drinking Springbank, good intensity and not overdone.

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