Thomson Bros, Dornoch, Springbank, 1950-1978, 54.7% A⊕⊕
Read all about it at Whiskyfun – a real honour to be able to try this.
Nose - Quite enormous really; huge black fruit, heavily polished with custard creams and fresh cut apple wood chunks and old oak staves. A polished veneer of wood over damp cigar tobacco, chewed liquorice root, travel sweets and quite old bandages still in their paper wrapper. It's quite a bright nose given the years, full of life, fruit, wax and dust. With water, more summery, a gala melon note to it with coconut and cream.
Body - Speechless. It's perfectly Springbank, they really haven't changed anything in the last 50 years. Intensely old Campbeltown, dusty with so much oil to it. Intense blackcurrant, it'd be jam if it wasn't so phenolic - it's almost formic. Cigarette tar on the lips, intensely peppery but so fruity.
Finish - Extremely long, the Springbank and oil dies down to reveal the enormous amount of wood tannin that's been lurking. After that, the very old Springbank comes back with ancient lemon and licked deodorant, it's so oily its practically greasy. With time the wood starts to palate crush, but the fruit never ends. With water, it ends more peppery and fizzing but you still want more.
Of course the nose on this is phenomenal, but the delivery is a real eye opener. Such intensity, perfect integration, and 100% Springbank. Don't go changing.
A real privilege to taste this thank you Ian for sorting me out.
Springbank private cask from Ronnie, 8 years old, "David Middleton", Cask 225/2000 A⊕
April 2000-Feb 2009
Nose - Surprisingly appley and winey, I wasn't expecting that. Really beautifully fruited, clean and composed. Jelly sweets with a glazing of petrol and furniture polish. There's a real perfection in here though, how is this only 8? Even more sweetshop with water, nearly pear drops.
Body - Very full bodied and balanced but with sharp, hard fruit, like a hard green apple. There's gunpowder, fly paper and cracked black pepper too, but the fruit carries it through. Water brings barley sugar and orange segments.
Finish - Long with oiled tools and a mouthfilling, fizzing Campbeltown peat. Even better with water - more mature, longer finish.
What an absolutely cracking whisky, the random excellence of young Springbank. Thanks Ronnie!
Whisky Broker Springbank 20 years old, Sherry hogshead 108, 48.9% A⊕-
Nose - Dark and sweet/sour, black cherry and sour coffee. Caramel ice cream and dark chocolate chips, cigars… the sherry is intense here, but there's that dusty, oily, meaty aged Springbank behind it, there's no doubting this dram's provenance. Also, oddly, blueberry muffins. Earthier with water. It's a phenomenal nose.
Body - Gentle with chocolate sponge, baked apple, intense cigar water and flashes of cabbage. Those are always saved by refreshers and dusty, fruity Campbeltown but the sulphur does worry when it shows.
Finish - Long and mouth-wateringly refreshing. Blood orange segments and chewed matchsticks.
A slightly deranged whisky, with glimpses of brilliance in among the filth and gunpowder.
I'm torn between A+ and A⊕ and I'm giving it some ⊕ because it's so utterly crushable, but I'm adding a little minus there too - because it's so bonkers and you wouldn't come to the bottle for a dram often. That nose though - pure filth.
Campbeltown blended malt, living cask Edinburgh, 57.2% A+
Bottled on 27 Jan 2018 by Whisky Rover - thanks! Blend of Longrow, Kilkerran and Springbank.
Body - Big and dusty, sawdust and lots of Springbank peat. Seared peaches, Marlboro light and reduced red wine.
Finish - Quite burnt, a few flashes of sulphur (there's a fair whack of sherry cask in here) and black pepper.
Light on the nose, but strikingly good in the delivery, this is a triumph from the living cask (although all I've had from those casks in Campbeltown have been excellent). If I lived in Edinburgh or Campbeltown I would drink mainly from these casks.