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

March 30, 2016


A great trio of Springbank plus aperitif

Archives/Whiskybase have not just one, they have three new Springbanks, all from the same vintage, 1996. Brilliant! We'll try all three, but first, an apéritif. Because that terrible disease that scientists call springbankitus keeps striking us at WF Towers.

Springbank 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2015)

Springbank 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2015) Four stars I came across a batch from circa 2014 that I did not like immensely (WF 80), so I'm glad I can taste a newer one. Colour: gold. Nose: ah, gunflints, soot, 'brake pads after the Nürburgring', rubber, walnut stain, cocoa, coffee beans, lamp oil, a wee butyric touch... This is well Springbank, and a pretty dry one, it seems. Mouth: more of all that, some leather, more coffee, aspirin tablets, limestone, sucking rubber bands (at school), green tea, something akin to naphtha, bitter, ultra-dry liquorice... This is really a Springbank that's keeping a stiff upper lip! Very dry and austere... Finish: medium, very dry. Cocoa, leaves, leather... Comments: not once ounce of fruitiness in this baby, so it's probably quite 'segmenting', but I liked it much better than the earlier batch. SGP:262 - 85 points.

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (56.4%, Archives, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #550, 284 bottles)

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (56.4%, Archives, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #550, 284 bottles) Five stars This is the lightest Springbank by Archives as far as colours are concerned. Nice label showing shells that grow around Campbeltown (well, not too sure ;-)). Colour: white wine. Nose: crush as few aspirins, mix with gunpowder and grass juice, add some gun oil, plus drops of crème de menthe, and this Springbank is what you'll get, more or less. It reminds of these stunning official 10s at cask strength. With water: raw wool and hay, mud, chalk, porridge... Mouth (neat): totally sharp and angular, terribly mineral and medicinal (some kind of embrocation), and integrally distillate-driven. It tends to become extremely ashy as well. I'm finding this impeccable, but it's probably rather for die-hard Springbank freaks. I'm one of them. With water: more ashes.  Some kind of secret spirit made for shaolin monks? Finish: medium, very grassy, very ashy. Touches of lemon. Comments: immaculate, crisp undisturbed Springbankness. Difficult and challenging, in a great way. What a coup, Archives! SGP:363 - 91 points.

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (54.9%, Archives, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #551, 239 bottles)

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (54.9%, Archives, refill bourbon hogshead, cask #551, 239 bottles) Five stars Darker and with a smaller outturn, will this one be more concentrated? Colour: pale gold. Nose: we're going more towards the official 15 this time, maybe thanks to some more active wood, but the general profile remains very chalky, medicinal, grassy, and perhaps a notch earthier than that of cask 550. Old puddle with tadpoles ;-). And more aspirin. With water: mud and leather. Mouth (neat): same feeling, it's #550 with more oils and fatness from the oak. More mint and citrus too, which makes it more approachable, and just as perfect. This one's got something of Old Clynelish, honestly. With water: very perfect. Everything's at the right place, iodine, chalk, ashes, smoky things, grass, grapefruits, engine oil... It's all so very well chiselled! Finish: long, ashy, acrid, drying, slightly salty... And perfect. Love the menthol and liquorice that are adding depth and texture. Comments: I should not, but I think I like this one even better than #550. It's a tad easier, but certainly not simpler. Zowie! SGP:363 - 92 points.

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (54.9%, Archives, fresh sherry hogshead, cask #106, 227 bottles)

Springbank 19 yo 1996/2016 (54.9%, Archives, fresh sherry hogshead, cask #106, 227 bottles) Four stars and a half Ah, sherry this time... So more hit or miss, I suppose. Colour: amber. Nose: whether there's actually sulphur or not, I've often noticed that 'modern' Springbank + sherry can generate sulphur-like notes, more or less between asparagus water and truffles. Yes, or town gas. That's what's happening again here, but luckily, that's temporary, and it's rather chocolate that tends to take the lead. Then rather marmalade, dried figs, and cigars. Plus, of course, this usual muddy side. With water: the distillate takes the lead. Chalk, ashes, grass, engine oil... Mouth (neat): really sharp. Plenty of bitter oranges, chalk, these aspirins, sultanas, leather, very tart grapefruits, a drop of seawater... It's all rather peculiar, unusual... And good. With water: some pepper, some unexpected fudge, and bags of Seville oranges. In the background, the usual chalky/medicinal profile. Finish: rather long, a little drying. Leather, black tea, a touch of rubber. Comments: I find this combo a little less 'coherent', but we're still flying pretty high, no doubt. SGP:452 - 88 points.

(and Danke schön Herbert)

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







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