Set faces to stunned…
9000 bottles. Last year's reviewed here.
Nose - This smells like old Springbank, 21-24 years old. Dusty and slightly weird (that's the peat) in its excellence, with blackcurrant travel sweets, yesterday's gloss paint and aging pine planks stacked in a shed. It's beautifully balanced and grown up.
There's men's perfume in here too but that might just be who poured me the sample.
Body - Dry and dusty again, charred wood and wood dust, then an intensely deep, black fruit. But also a really tarry, almost sharp fruit and that Campbeltown edge.
Finish - Drying and oily, with toffee, pipe tobacco and its tar on the lips.
This is even better than last year's triumph. Now that Hazelburn is lightly peated, Springbank is heavily peated and Longrow is weirdly peated, Hazelburn is amazing. Two bottle job, if you can get it. I'll try not to gush anymore because I know what's next…
Nose - Ancient peat, divine. What is in the atmosphere in those dunnage warehouses on Longrow? This is refreshers, maybe Rennies, rose wine and the fizzing bits in a wham bar. It's weird though, there's pork crackling, salty and swiney, that salt is verging on coastal.
Body - Perfect and complete, the balance of sweet, salt, fruit and refreshers. Is it creamy? It has poppadum, caraway and green apple.
Finish - Medium-long and dusty, with that orchardy, weirdly peated thing right to the end. It doesn't build on sipping though, the thing starts to slip away from you (not rich enough) but all the better for its ethereal character.
Pure Campbeltown, unmistakeable. Wonderful drinking.
3700 bottles. Imagine making this stuff and going into work to vat together 10+ casks of 21 year old Springbank. Hope you don't get it wrong! Accidentally stick in a random cask of 8 year old Ardmore.
Nose - OK you can totally tell it's not Longrow, this is deeper and sweeter with that pure Campbeltown elemental richness from the world's best distillery. Deep toffee and fruit of course, but this has unripe pear slices with mango and pomegranate molasses, a hot laminator.
Body - Gentle; coffee and milk, cocoa powder and pistachio ice cream. Mouth filling, oily but clean and satisfying.
Finish - Medium with chocolate chips, toffee apples and just a little of that chocolate/clove thing I once had in Morocco but can't remember much about anymore…
The Springbank 21, I am realising, is all about drinkability. This is cork chucking territory of the highest order. 2018, up there with last year's but I won't do some nerdy side by side as this is drinking whisky. Get it while you still can!