Thursday, 28 November 2019

Springbank 18, September 2019

Springbank 18 years old, September 2019, 46% A

Nose - Off dry, dusty with balsa wood, sweet slightly medicinal talc, some kind of other bathroom note, maybe teenager's deodorant.  An ethereal, slightly petrolly fruit.
Body - Soft tannins, felt, clove and black cardamom.  Subtle, hot and slightly burnt spices.
Finish - More cloves, quite long with more burnt wood and wine.


A soft, complex and quite spicy old SB, full of old lacquered wood and Campbeltown but quite a challenging and singular expression given its strength, it's multi-cask and core range.  It is, of course, extremely delicious, with remarkable, dirty fruit.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Old Springbanks

Claxton Whisky, Springbank 22 years old, 55% A+
10.05.1996, bourbon hogs head
Nose - Men’s perfume, warm apple juice, black sesame cake with gentle refreshers and something like fairy liquid-warm laundry or a hair drier on shampooed hair.  Perfumed, then.  But of course meaty and perfectly Campbeltown.  
Body - Very elegant, dusty and perfumed again, absolutely delicious with fizzing vanilla and sparklers, ethereal but well earthed.  Very well judged.
Finish - Medium with Christmas oranges, sherbet dib dabs, banana foam sweets, licked perfume and pepper on the lips.  Very citrusy at the end, with old varnish and lots of wood oils.

An otherworldly old Springer - but fizzing and peppery too, plenty of Campbeltown still in it.  22 in Campbeltown is like 42 elsewhere, but the peat is still 22 years old.  It’s a wonderful whisky, anyway.

Springbank 24 years old, official bottling A+’
A million thanks to Ronnie for a sample on this!
Nose - Dank and fruity, overripe apples and raisins.  Extremely sweet and very (if dirtily and softly) sherried.  Underneath; old, damp wood, black and soft, with blackcurrants, Victoria sponge, whistle pops.
Body - Wow… ethereal but so much darker - cloves, black fruits (berries, plums), bandages and retronasal fireworks (literally not metaphorically).  
Finish - Very long and really quite medicinal, with lots of fizzing fruit, clove, iodine and an undercurrent of Campbeltown damp peat.  
This is 11/10 on the interesting and 7/10 on challenging, but the real trick is 9/10 on luxurious and delicious.

What a cask.  I love the black fruit and cloves, the fizzing, medicinal woods, and the very long, balanced and fascinating finish.  Very good indeed.

Springbank 1973 CA, Rum Cask 57.5% A
Nose - blimey.  Dusty with sour fruits, gunpowder and something inbetween travel sweets and cough candy.  Very clean and fresh, but somehow sourly dirty and medicinal, with engine oil and cherry tunes deep in the sinuses.
Body - Coal dust, sweetshop fruits, burnt tannins, clove chocolate and fried red chilli.  Pure Springbank too, pure Campbeltown dust.
Finish - Extremely long, with damp burnt wood, balsa, carbon paper, slightly rotten apples and liquorice.  

Extremely special, a perfect expression of old Campbeltown and bottled at only 18 and full strength, really hooks you in by the hind brain.  Thank you so much for this sample Ian, and double thanks to Alan who gave him the sample!  I'm going to spend the next hour finishing it.

SMWS 58.31, Strathisla, Berried alive

30th March 2006, 244 bottles, After spending 10 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a 2nd fill chenin blanc barrique for the remainder of its maturation.

Nose - Sweet, frosted whistle pops, Rainbow Drops, deodorant, shaving gel, wax polish and a little chinkiang black vinegar.  It's creamier and more relaxing than I'm making it sound though, waxed warm wood and off-sweet fruits.  More complex woods with water, brings me memories of hot summer nights in Greville street working through an outturn.
Body - Soft then a little spicy with quite robust tannins and harder boiled sweets.  Some apple pips and black tea, quite spicy spirits.  Fruitier and softer with water.
Finish - Medium to long, peppery woods and just faint echoes of the waxes and fruits in the nose.  


This wine cask is reasonably active on second fill, giving quite a lot of hard oak notes in the delivery alongside the luxurious fruits at the front.  A robust second or third dram of the night and can take a few drops of water well.