Google Four Springbank and a wee rant

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

May 5, 2022


Four Springbank and a wee rant

Randomly and in good faith. I've heard many good people complain about the fact that Springbank was getting expensive. Well, I remember some magazine or newspaper, around twenty-five or thirty years ago (wasn't it The Times?) had stated that Springbank was THE 1er Grand Cru Classé of Scotch Whisky. What's a little distasteful these days, having said that, is seeing stinky flippers making money with Springbank's blue and yellow charity bottling for Ukraine. I'm not saying the Distillery can do anything against that, all I'll say is that any profits that are generated should go to Ukraine, not into the pocket of any miserable, disgusting and pathetic excuse for a human being whose mother was a hamster while the father was smelling of elderberries. Anyway…

This wee advert from 2003 was particularly clear,
Springbank is for drinkers, not for flippers!


Springbank 10 yo 'Local Barley' (51.6%, OB, 15,000 bottles, 2021)

Springbank 10 yo 'Local Barley' (51.6%, OB, 15,000 bottles, 2022) Four stars and a half
This baby was actually bottled in December last year. It was made from Belgravia Barley (do they grow barley in central London??? – good one S.) It is 100% ex-bourbon and was bottled at some kind of reduced strength, apparently. What's sure is that it's the lightest LB so far – apart from the older LBs that had been distilled in the 1960s. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's one of those very sooty and sour ones, starting with a lot of solvent, acetone, then we have lemon juice, a feeling of gin, bags of grist and many small berries. This is almost holly eau-de-vie! With water: sauerkraut, seawater, engine oil and a new 3-pack of pencil erasers (back to school). Mouth (neat): a little gentler on the palate, but very chalky, sooty and lemony, well in our preferred style. One cannot change his own nature. With water: exceptional, in the style of the regular 10, which we always just love. Some green pepper and salt. Finish: long, peppery, then salty and lemony. Comments: nothing to throw away. Do not over-water.
SGP:362 – 69 points for all cupid, shameless flippers (please switch to cryptos!), 89 points for all good people (like us!)

A quasi-OB please…

Springbank 10 yo 2011/2021 (55%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles, autumn 2021)

Springbank 10 yo 2011/2021 (55%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles, autumn 2021) Five stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: same whisky, honestly. Perhaps a tad fatter and a notch more mineral, but that may be the extra 3.4% vol. With water: exceptional sourdough, grist and porridge, sake and fino, genever, raw wool… Mouth (neat): different this time, a tad dirtier than the LB, with more fermentary notes, sour cream, yoghurt, chalk and clay, and this feeling of ashes and carbon dust. With water: all things lemons taking over, together with a lot of chalk, white beers, leaven bread and just, well, yes, lemons. Finish: long and vertical, chiselled. Another perfect blade. Comments: stunning purity and body. 1er Grand Cru Classé stuff, my dear, and surely a smart move by W.M. Cadenhead. The new Local Barley was just a distraction (ha!)

SGP:452 - 91 points.

We could have an old one now, what do you say?

Springbank 28 yo 1992/2020 (42.8%, Sansibar for Japanwhisky, bourbon, 204 bottles)

Springbank 28 yo 1992/2020 (42.8%, Sansibar for Japanwhisky, bourbon, 204 bottles) Five stars
Lovely label with some koi fish, which are almost as expensive as Springbank. Colour: white wine. Always the perfect colour for Springbank. Nose: an ideal counterpoint after the CAD. It is the same whisky, just eighteen years older. It's lost a little oomph, but it won more complexity and subtleness, and even more elegance. Perfect chalky, sooty, fermentary, gristy notes, then rather less lemon than in the young ones, and more camphory and medicinal notes. Iodine, mercurochrome, oysters, ointments, peat smoke… In the end, it is almost like if Campbeltown and Islay had moved closer back in 1992. Plate tectonics, maybe? Mouth: indeed, you would be forgiven for saying this is an older Islay. Tight lemony smoke, cough syrup, kippers, grapefruits, brine, ashes, touches of passion fruits, oysters, plasticine, bitter almonds… This is troubling. Finish: not too long but wonderfully tertiary. Many smaller coastal and resinous notes, and a little sesame and fish oil in the aftertaste. 90% sesame, 10% fish (phew!) Comments: just wonderful. Those vintages weren't easy when they were young, but this is really magnificent and goes to prove, once more, that time is whisky's main ingredient.

SGP:563 - 91 points.

(I've done a quick and dirty vatting with Cad's 10 and Sansibar's 28 and now feel like I'm Dr Bill.)

Please an old OB and we're done… Oh, didn't we mention the 1960s when we were talking Local Barley?...

Springbank 1967 (46%, OB, for Taiwan, 750ml, +/-1995)

Springbank 1967 (46%, OB, for Taiwan, 750ml, +/-1995) Five stars
This is not the famous 27 yo or 28 yo 1967 'Big golden S', it doesn't state any age or bottling year on the labels. Unless that's all in Chinese… In theory, this should be a bed of roses… Colour: gold. Nose: there are not massive differences between 'modern' and 'older' Springbanks, while there are at many other famous Distilleries, as we all know. It's true that their equipment hasn't changed since the Flintstones. In this very case, we do detect similar coastal notes as in the Sansibar, perhaps a little less ashes and soot, but that could be some sherry casks.. Now what's rather typical of these 1960s and even early 1970s Springbanks is this superb honeyness. Heather honey for sure, pollens, nectar, then raisins and dried apricots, old late-harvest white wines, the best sweet Tokaji…  Mouth: we'll keep this short. All things honeys, plus moist cakes (biscuits in champagne), raisins of all kinds – never too sweet – then a meatiness (sweet ham) and various old herbal liqueurs. Wormwood, star anise, spearmint, verbena, lemon balm and all those small pleasures of life. Finish: medium long and unexpectedly mentholy, with even more verbena as well. Lemon, some sweet earthiness and some chartreuse in the aftertaste, with a little salt, and then a honeyed final signature. Comments: a few touch-and-goes, as often with old bottles, but as expected, this was a glorious old Springbank. 1er Grand Cru Classé of Scotland, indeed.

SGP:662 - 92 points.

More Springbank soon, stay tuned.

(With thanks to the Burlet gang and to Ryan)

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







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