Google Glenlossie Vs Springbank

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

June 30, 2018





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Vs Springbank
Yes, I know, I know. One of the most stupid and pointless tasting sessions ever. But, this is Whiskyfun after all, and at least it will be fun. Probably.
We’ll go, theoretically at any rate, from light to heavy in both instances.


Glenlossie-Glenlivet (70 proof, Army and Navy Stores, UK, 1950s, cork top) Glenlossie-Glenlivet (70 proof, Army and Navy Stores, UK, 1950s, cork top)
One of several rare and unusual old malts bottled for the Army and Navy Stores back in ye day. There’s also a 6 year old version for the US under this same livery which Serge scored 90. Colour: Amber. Nose: it’s one of these beautifully antique aromas, that is to say fragile old hardwoods, elegant, rancio-scented sherry, many herbs, old assorted spice jars, jasmine, sack cloth and earthen floors. The epitome of old school sherry casks, supple, mineral, darkly fruity and with wee touches of mocha, espresso, waxes and bitter chocolate. Mouth: prunes! You can also add to that similar exclamations of dates, figs and sultanas. Some pomegranate molasses, walnut liqueur and roast game meats and a good slug of mineral oil. Finish: Not the longest but then that’s to be expected at 70 proof. It still kicks though, there’s a pleasing mixture of spices, dry earth, candied peels and dried herbs. Comments: this at 46% or cask strength would be a total dream. However, dream is all we can do, alas... (I’m sorry, what a stupid comment!)
SGP: 662 - 89 points.


Glenlossie  23 yo 1992/2013 (46%, Berry Brothers, hogshead, cask #3473) Glenlossie  23 yo 1992/2013 (46%, Berry Brothers, hogshead, cask #3473)
Colour: white wine. Nose: lots of ripe pears, greengages, some cut grass, fresh gooseberry, green tea and a general leafy / forest note akin to wet ferns and trodden bracken. Continues with a touch of green wood, some very light vanilla panna cotta and plenty of cereals and damp grains. One of these pleasingly easy, fruity and well-balanced Speyside profiles. Mouth: straw, hay, mirabelle eau de vie, lychee syrup, dandelion and barley husks. More interesting and perhaps a little more lively and challenging than the nose suggested, although more dusty and note as immediately fresh and fruity. Goes on with lime oil, pecan pie and a little sweet flapjack. Finish: good length, honey sweetness, lemon barley water, sweetened oatmeal and shortbread. Comments: good, honest, fruity and well balanced malt whisky. The kind you can just mindlessly quaff with an ice cube in summer. Or by the fire in winter I suppose.
SGP: 531 - 85 points.


Glenlossie 18 yo 1992/2011 (56.1%, Dewar Rattray, cask #3411, bourbon, 244 bottles) Glenlossie 18 yo 1992/2011 (56.1%, A.D. Rattray, cask #3411, bourbon, 244 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: minty chalk, or, chalky mints. Touches of aspirin, ink, blotting paper and dry hay. Surprisingly austere, given the pedigree of most early 1990s Glenlossies. With time there emerges a few citrons and wee slices of lemon peel; perhaps a hint of agave nectar as well. With water: even after dilution it remains somewhat tight and closed off. Notes of vase water, a watercress pepperiness and a distant throat sweet. Mouth: more like it! Big delivery, all on honey, nectarines,  sweet plum wine, brown sugar and a touch of sesame oil. Various toasted seeds, crisp cereals and a little barley wine. With water: softens out with notes of shortbread, victoria sponge, lemon curd and some orange juice. Finish: Medium, gets a little more drying and returns to this slightly more brittle, arid style akin to the nose. Comments: One of these curious and slightly tricky whiskies that’s almost totally about the palate. One to pour into a tumbler and sip away out without too much engagement I’d say.
SGP: 441 - 80 points.


Glenlossie 23 yo 1993/2017 (56.8%, Cadenhead Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 216 bottles) Glenlossie 23 yo 1993/2017 (56.8%, Cadenhead Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 216 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: we’re several levels above the Rattray bottling I’m pleased to report. This one is really full of slightly overripe fruits, both green and exotic. Lots of Cantaloupe melon, fermenting honey, wine cellar must, sunflower oil and a sooty fire hearth. Some dried lavender, pressed wild flowers and a hint of potpourri. Really fragrant and rather beautiful. With water: gets slightly chalky now with lots of waxed lemon skins, some salted caramel and a glass of top quality dry cider. Mouth: silky in texture and full of dried citrus and exotic fruits, polished hardwoods, nutmeg, wood spices, very subtle waxiness, dried mint leaf and a turmeric-esque earthiness. With water: nectar, pollen, yellow flowers, dry cereals, buttered toast and chamomile tea. Some jasmine as well. Finish: Good length, with a crisp and dry earthiness keeping things alive and fresh. Nutty and biscuity notes in the aftertaste. Comments: Excellent, and superbly quaffable mid-aged Glenlossie from Cadenhead.
SGP: 641 - 89 points.


Glenlossie 12 yo (65.8%, James MacArthur’s, bottled 1980s, cask #8230) Glenlossie 12 yo (65.8%, James MacArthur’s, bottled 1980s, cask #8230)
This one was bottled both in 75cl and 5cl formats, it’s the miniature that I’m writing notes from today. Given the strength you’ll have to excuse me while I strap myself in... Colour: amber. Nose: it’s not no doubt but there’s also some rather fascinating notes of paprika, vegetable stock, damp leaves, pipe tobacco and umami paste. Rather savoury and prickly. There’s a lean but pervasive earthiness as well, along with some dried mushroom powder and salted dark chocolate. I suspect some sort of decent refill sherry cask was at work here. With water: softer, earthier, leafier, more chocolatey and more notes of soot and espresso. A little strong black tea as well. Mouth: comparatively rather sippable at full strength. Lots of flints, gun oil, metal polish, soot, some blood orange and a dusting of expensive cocoa powder. With water: the polished aspects get a little louder which is pretty gratifying, along with a leafy kind of waxiness and plenty black pepper, liquorice and a touch of menthol and eucalyptus resin. Finish: Long, powerful, earthy, peppery, spicy, savoury and with some potent notes of fruity chilli and horseradish. Comments: It’s all very good, but it probably could have done with another couple of decades maturation. No doubt from these DCL stocks filled into cask without reduction in the 1970s.
SGP: 472 - 87 points.


And now, to Campbeltown... As we’re doing ‘light to heavy’ then we’ll be starting with the older ones for a change.  


Springbank 5 yo (43%, OB for Italy, late 1960s) Springbank 5 yo (43%, OB for Italy, late 1960s)
This darker vatting is rather rare these days I think. Colour: Amber. Nose: close your eyes and you’re almost in a bodega in Jerez. Or, at least in a bar nearby nosing some VORS Oloroso. This is a pure and heady mix of dates, fig jam, damp earthen floors, old wine cellars, vintage burgundies, raspberry compote, Nutella, coal scuttles, salted liquorice and old walnut wine. Intoxicatingly salty, lean, coastal, mineral-flecked sherry. Mouth: arrives softly but the sherry rises with pin-sharp purity and you get a big hit of bitter, salted chocolate, crushed almonds, pancetta, wild mushrooms, a touch of ointment, some sea air and many soft earthy and leafy notes. There’s also black olive bread, a touch of caramelised brown sugar and more very old pinot noir character. Finish: Good length, superbly crisp, earthy, saline and nutty sherry again. A few extra degrees of alcohol would probably have propelled it into the stratosphere, but we’re splitting hairs. Comments: To think, 5 years old! But, this being Springbank, at that time, they were probably making up the numbers by dumping a couple of casks of 30 year old in the vat. Magnificent old sherried whisky.
SGP: 572 - 92 points.


Let’s try a few 12s now...  


Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB, tall bottle ‘red thistle’, 1990s) Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB, tall bottle ‘red thistle’, 1990s)
There are a number of variations, in batch and colour, in this livery. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: I love Springbank when it gets properly naked like this. It begins with all kinds of waxy citrus peels, raw barley, cooling wort, grist - really the innards of a working distillery held in a glass - and faint glimmer of earthy peat smoke in the background. There are also wet beach pebbles, ink, clay, lemon barley water and a hint of ointment. A tad quiet overall but beautifully pure. Mouth: rather dry and chiselled, a young riesling springs to mind. Lots of olive oil, some preserved lemons, a scraping of butter on white toast, watercress, chalk and limestone. A tad peppery as well. Finish: Good length, lightly ashy, citric and with a rather brittle and flinty minerality. Comments: Serge scored this one - or a sibling batch - 87 all the way back in 2007, I can’t find any reason to disagree with that score. Interestingly, I think the contemporary bottlings of the 10 year old are superior to this by a fair few points.
SGP: 362 - 87 points.


Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB, tall bottle ‘green thistle’, dark vatting, 1990s) Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB for Japan, green thistle, dark vatting, 1990s)
Another version of this tall bottle ‘thistle’ label done for Japan that’s very scarce. Colour: Bronze. Nose: A big, beefy and earthy sherry. Lots of cured meats, walnut wine, damp cellar floors, old balsamic and rancio. Also I find many dark fruits such as sultanas, date paste, stewed prunes and dried cranberries. Rather beautiful and close in style to the legendary 100 proof bottlings. With time it becomes greener and more tropical with these wee notes of dried mango, green banana and papaya Mouth: pure Springbank now! Smoked fruit jellies, tar liqueur, fishing nets, game, soot, walnut liqueur, delicate antiseptic and bandages. These dark fruits also remain with more notes of raisin and fruit loaf. The meatiness and delicate peatiness continues apace and the sherry remains ever-present but never dominating. Finish: Long, earthy and slightly drying with bitter chocolate and some mineral aspects. Comments: Something of a masterclass in composition, poise, controlled power and elegance. It’s also textbook Springbank and far, far too dangerous.
SGP: 663 - 93 points.


Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB, tall bottle ‘green thistle’, dark vatting, 1990s) Springbank 12 yo (46%, OB, tall bottle ‘green thistle’, dark vatting, 1990s)
Another dark one, most likely for the UK. Colour: deep amber. Nose: This one is less immediately meaty and instead veers more towards prune juice, figs and pure earthen floored dunnage warehouse. Lots of hessian sack cloth, fruit loaf, Guinness cake, walnut liqueur and ancient balsamico. Shares a very definite DNA with the Japan version but there are tpeatiness sits quietly underneath everything. Mouth: feels a little drier, earthier and maybe a tad thinner on the palate than the Japan bottling. Lots of hessian, camphor, salted liquorice, red liquorice, blackcurrant jam, cassis, a touch of tar liqueur, some cooked ham, quince. It’s a big, blustery, drying and rather powerfully earthy sherry. A nice saline edge keeps everything pretty fresh. Finish: Long, still very earthy but getting more meahese wee subtle differences. Continues with many dried herbs, maraschino cherry, coal dust and chopped dates. A leathery, rather leafy ty now, some burned raisins, caraway and cured meats. Comments: It’s still terrific whisky, and every inch a big sherried Springbank, it’s just that it struggles a bit in the shadow of that Japanese behemoth.
SGP: 573 - 91 points.


Springbank 25 yo 1974 (46%, OB, Frank McHardy 40 years in Distilling, 610 bottles) Springbank 25 yo 1974 (46%, OB, Frank McHardy 40 years in Distilling, 610 bottles)
Colour: deep gold. Nose: Rather syrupy with ripe melon and salted almond notes. Some golden syrup, caramelised brown sugar, lanolin, bandages, ointment and a profile that generally moves more towards soft coastal characteristics and medicine. In time a leathery and more mushroomy side emerges; notes of mineral oil, butter biscuit, herbal flatbread and olive oil. I like it but there’s a sort of ‘opaqueness’ about it - which is something I’ve found in other 74 Springbanks. Mouth: lots of cooked grains in olive oil, some peppered mackerel, white flowers, beach pebbles, soot, light ointment and a slight vegetal side that suggest artichokes and white asparagus. In time there’s these slightly more acidic notes and hints of sack cloth, aspirin and lime juice. Finish: Long and on burnt seaweed, black olives, medicine, a little dry oatmeal and salted butter. Comments: This has been a little bit of a divisive bottling over the years and I can see why. In parts it is quite extreme but at the same time the ‘Springbankness’ of it is often rather elusive. Still, I think it’s good whisky, just a tad unlikely.
SGP: 372 - 89 points.


And back to the future to finish...  


Springbank 12 yo (56.3%, OB Cask Strength, 2018, 18/0001)

Springbank 12 yo (56.3%, OB Cask Strength, 2018, 18/0001)
Colour: gold. Nose: Wow, kaffir lime, coconut, soot, embrocations, salted peanuts, some grizzly peat, smoky bacon, some kind of rather tropical-edged saison beer and smoked mussels. Goes on with chalk, preserved lemons, waxes, salted liquorice and anchovy paste. With water: some kind of smoky muesli. Notes of warm grist, lamp oil, sack cloth and a few green apple peelings and some good quality pear cider (perry). Mouth: immensely oily and fatty, all on diesel fumes, boiler smoke, tar liqueur, beach pebbles, kelp, rope, fishing nets, various ointments and a lick of antiseptic. Also aspirin, chalk and squid ink. With water: more coconut, toasted this time and with lots of antiseptic, light medicine, some roasted game meats, lanolin, bay leaf, lemon thyme and a little green banana. Finish: Long, medical, coastal, oily, slightly fishy in a good way, black pepper, more liquorice and a little briny note. Comments: Always an essential bottling in my view. And, after such a run of drams, I think it’s safe to say that while Springbank was always putting out totally stunning whiskies, its base distillate really improved since the early 1990s.
SGP: 473 - 91 points.



Thanks and hugs to Enrico, Jeroen, Emmanuel, Hans and Dirk.  







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