Campbeltown region – 58.3% ABV – $139
It is a very true statement that Springbank is a Scotch Whisky that is in a league of it’s own.
The quality of their products tend to be a few notches above the rest and the whisky’s character is, well, unique. Very unique.
Could the essence of their individuality be connected to terroir (Campbeltown and they, Springbank, being one of only three distilleries in Campbeltown)?
Perhaps it’s their distilling process (2.5 times distilled which is explained here)? I think not as their other products, Hazelburn (3 times distilled and unpeated) and Longrow (2 times distilled and heavily peated) still have that Springbankiness to them…
Maybe it’s the fact that they handle every step of the process whisky-making process from malting on up?
Perhaps it’s the fact that their wash (beer to be distilled in to spirit) spends 70 hours or more fermenting in Boatskin Larch wash backs? (Most Scottish distilleries ferment their wash between 48 & 54 hours in either Oregon Pine or Stainless Steel).
I am not sure any one of the above points really offers up answers. Regardless, Springbank Scotch Whisky is pretty amazing stuff. While I am a known Glenmorangie freak, I have to say that Springbank produces my favorite whisky. Ever. And when they do it right. Boy howdy, they do it right-right!
Today’s Springer is a 15yo single cask matured in a re-charred sherry butt. This is a highly unusual style of Scotch whisky and it sounded simply super fun and interesting to me so I had to get a bottle. Had to.
On the nose — As I might have guessed (and surely hoped), the nose is very Bourbon-like due to the re-charred oak. There’s a high sweetness here and a sharpness in scent.
Brown sugar and peat! What a combo! Paraffin wax and molding clay. Pencil shavings, albeit burnt pencil shavings. A wide combination of dried fruits (dates, prunes, dried banana, etc…), pickled walnuts and cherries pits.
There’s a salty/briny quality to this as well. Heavy leather gloves (well used) and a brush fire.
This is like nosing a 50-50 mix of George T Stagg and a sherried Springbank.
On the mouth — Big, salty and massively sherried (but without being like a run-of-the-mill sherry bomb). There is no unidimensionality going on here. In fact, there’s a lot going on here and it’s part of a nice flavor story:
Salted dates floating in a bowl of Mexican vanilla extract and grated chicory. Soft yet driving peat and dank malt (a la Malta Goya).
A lovely mouth feel. Very bourbon like in experience (mouthfeel, very sweet and prickly on the sides of the tongue, charred-oaky-goodness) with the addition of cherry-twizzler sweetness!
The nuttiness returns but it’s like a nutty-syrup mixed with unlit cigars.
Finish — Medium finish loaded with dates and a touch of salt.
In sum — As if Springbank was unique enough! This is a wildly fun ride of a whisky that would impress the Bourbon lovers out there. Heck, this should impress whisk(e)y drinkers anywhere. Very tasty and quite balanced.
One could sit and dissect this whisky or just relax and simply enjoy it. This is a desert (and dessert) island dram for me. I better get another bottle before you all buy it out on me!!