Google Springbank No400 right after the Ides of March

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

March 22, 2021


Springbank #400
right after the Ides of March

Nothing Caesaresque or Brutusian here, I just wanted to have our 400th Springbank before the month was over, as we had said we'd try Springbank each and every month (since that's not doable with Brora anymore, anyway). But enough excuses, let's have our 400th…

WF S 400

Springbank 21 yo (46%, OB, +/-1995) Five stars
This one's nicknamed the 'jagged label' version but naturally, that's no official denomination. It could have been bottled a little earlier than 1995, but who knows… This is most probably early 1970s distillate, which wasn't that far from the 1960s, which means that we're instantly reminded of the 'Local Barleys', of the 'West Highland Malts', or simply of the earlier, bulkier bottles of 21 yo. Indeed, best of news.

Springbank 21 yo (46%, OB, +/-1995)

Colour: deep gold. Nose: so, chestnut and heather honeys, eucalyptus honey and beeswax, glazed chestnuts, something that's often to be found in old Springbanks and that we don't often mention since it's pretty obvious, old Cognac. Also sweet meats, beef jerky, or that dried Turkish meat that the Ottoman horsemen used to keep under their saddles and that's a bit reminiscent of pemican. I tried that once during some kind of historic dinner near Izmir and I'll remember it forever. But let's move on if you please(you, were babbling on, S.)… Mouth: it's this combination of power and elegance that's always been impressive. On the one hand, some rural peat, salt, earth, smoke, hay, mushrooms… And on the other side, some raisins, old cognac indeed, tobacco, old mint cordial, liquorice… It really is a perfect Springbank, and I think it's peatier than most others, as if some early Longrow had been poured into the vatting tank for good measure. So perhaps some single blend, actually? Tends to get tarrier too, even a little brutal. Finish: very long, bone-dry this time, a tad harsh, pleasantly so, more rustic now. Tobacco, tar and leaves, with a little plasticine and petrol in the aftertaste. Springbank indeed. Comments: perhaps more for the battlefield than for the library. Always a joy to try these series.
SGP:463 - 93 points.

So, happy 400th Springbank, Whiskyfun! Next…

Springbank 15 yo 1973/1989 'Ageing Monography' (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, 75cl)

Springbank 15 yo 1973/1989 'Ageing Monography' (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, 75cl) Five stars
Another brainwave by Sig. Samaroli, documenting the evolution of some similar whisky over the years, from the state of British Plain Spirit (18 months, almost newmake) to much older ages – actually to a 23 yo 1965. It's also quite interesting to see that M. Samaroli used to advise the buyers not to open the bottle before a specific time, to warrant 'massimo affinamento'. So, 'best after etc.' Colour: straw. Nose: a totally naked Springbank, without any sherry or apparent oak, which makes sense in this context. So a lot of shoe polish, concrete, lamp oil, huge notes of fern, eucalyptus, Diesel oil, then grapefruits and citrons, chalk, flints, Sancerres… Well, Samaroli's Springbanks were sometimes more or less in the same league as that of Giaccone's Clynelishes, that's all. With water: not too sure, I believe reduction was readymade. Tends to become a little cardboardy. Mouth (neat): rather sublime medicinal, herbal and chalky arrival, very chartreuse-y, petroly, oily, waxy, salty… But it tends not to unfold any further, which is a little unexpected. Perhaps with water? With water: rather similar, just a tad rounder. Touches of eucalyptus and lemon drops, cream eggs (for Easter!)… Finish: long, very lemony and salty. Superb chalkiness. Comments: totally superb indeed, I was just expecting just a little more complexity. In truth, I was expecting Clynelish Giaccone. Completely my fault. Careful with water; well, just don't add any.
SGP:462 - 91 points.

A newer one and we'll be done…

Springbank 25 yo 1994/2020 (45.4%, WhiskySponge, refill sherry hogshead, 209 bottles)

Springbank 25 yo 1994/2020 (45.4%, WhiskySponge, refill sherry hogshead, 209 bottles) Five stars
Have you heard that The Sponge was actually Kim Jong-il's secret cousin - the one that turned out fine? Colour: deep gold. Nose: completely different and that was to be expected. This time we're really on chocolate, black tea, dry tobacco and dried flowers, patchouli, mint tea, palo cortado, old walnuts, old wine cellar… We're really less 'refill' than 'refill'; I know what I'm trying to say. Over time some whiffs of old mentholy embrocations arise, together with these pine-y touches that are often to be found in very old cognacs or armagnacs, aplus very old chardonnay that oxidised rather beautifully. A nose for wine freaks? Was that done on purpose? Mouth: I see. Dry, salty, very bouillony, tarry, on bresaola, tobacco, more walnuts, pecans, then these petroly and chalky notes that do keep screaming 'Springbank!' Some lively -and lovely- touches of melissa water and sage add more life and freshness to this one. Just give it a little time. Finish: medium, perfectly balanced. Walnuts, polish, salty bouillons and tobacco, mostly. Comments: I have been thinking 'whoops!' for exactly 7 seconds (ah, that song) but it was superb Springbank indeed. Again, just give it a little time.
SGP:362 - 91 points.

(Thank you muchas KC and Ryan)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Springbank we've tasted so far







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