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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 6, 2013


Official Springbank 1963
vs. indie Springbank 1963

Proportionally, I believe there used to be more old bottlings on WF in the old days but as new whiskies and bottlers pop out every day, it's true that I tend to taste more new ones - again, proportionally. A shame? Not too sure since some distilleries improved their makes in the latest two decades, but let's not lose all of our good habits and have these two old Springbanks today, even if both are now almost unavailable and vey pricy. Ah, the good old days...

Springbank 1963 (46%, OB, tall black label, 75cl, +/-1985)

Springbank 1963 (46%, OB, tall black label, 75cl, +/-1985) There are various vintages in this series, especially 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965… We’ll soon have the 1975 as well. Colour: full gold. Nose: this is fabulous. Complex right from the start, with this perfectly balanced combination of fruity and phenolic notes that are only to be found in old Highland Parks beside Springbank, in my experience. At random, we have quinces, metal polish, apricot pie, various honeys, wax polish, tobacco, leather, a little brine, liquorice, plums, figs, mint, dates, eucalyptus, camphor, incense, wood and peat smoke, sandalwood, coal… Actually, there’s everything. Glorious and subtle, one of the best from the roaring sixties. Mouth: it’s great that there isn’t much sherry involved as this wonderful palate proves that the venerable distillery recently got back to their older style. All for the better! There’s this very peculiar weirdness that’s so exactly beautiful, with a greasy and oily side, there’s also a lot of brine mixed with lemon juice, some leather, bags of dried fruits, motor oil, a little fudge, herbal teas aplenty, a pleasantly bitter sappiness and then the trademark bitter oranges. Oops, forgot to mention fresh peppercorns. Finish: maybe not the longest ever but it’s got this Chartreusy side that’s so entrancing. Herbal liqueurs and spices plus smoother dried fruits. A wee soapiness in the aftertaste but that’s 100% normal here. Comments: it’s so great that Springbank, together with Cadenhead’s, started to bottle many of their whiskies at 46% so early! True pioneers. SGP:552 - 93 points.

Springbank 31 yo 1963/1994 (52.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, sherry wood)

Springbank 31 yo 1963/1994 (52.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, sherry wood) That’s right, its only a semi-independent Springbank as the old bottlers from Aberdeen have been taken over by J & A Mitchell & Co., owners of Springbank, in 1972. Colour: coffee with bronze hues. Nose: so close, and yet so far from the OB! Heavier, punchier, thicker, maybe less elegant in a way, with more oaky tones, more liquorice, more red fruits and their jams (raspberries, yes!), more Demerara sugar and rums, rather more smoke as well, more sherry obviously, more chocolate… And less elegance. Yet, it’s magnificent. With water: oh yes it is. Fab sherry, with now more mineral notes, flints, Iberico ham, old books, mushrooms (morels?), chocolate, leather polish… Amazing now. Mouth (neat): smashing concentration, with more meat and mint this time, bitter chocolate, a lot of liquid tar, chestnut honey, black raisins, menthol… Then old Demerara rum again and bitter oranges. What a show. With water: you have to get the amount of water right because too much of it will make it drying and, well, wishy-washy, but otherwise we have a superb dry oloroso, with more prunes, oranges, chocolate, liquorice, coffee and cinnamon. Something of some very high-end old Cognacs. Finish: long and very chocolaty. Also coffee ‘improved’ with orange liqueur. Comments: careful with water but otherwise, this baby’s absolutely stunning. I think we forgot to call the anti-maltoporn brigade, haven’t we? SGP:563 - 95 points.

PS: A blend of both 1963s is orgasmic.

(Olivier, merci encore)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Springbank I've tasted so far







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