Origin: Campbeltown (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon, ex-Rum and ex-Madeira
Additional Coloring: No
Owner: J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd.
Average price: € 120.00
Official website: springbank.scot
After an 11-year bottling entirely aged in ex-Madeira casks in 2009, Springbank returned to using these casks in 2020 for the final three years of ageing of this 17-year-old, previously matured in a mix of ex-Bourbon and ex-Rum casks.
Apart from several single casks, this is the distillery’s fourth 17-year-old, preceded by versions from 2015 (all in ex-Sherry), 2017 (all in ex-Rum) and one for the Japanese market from 2013 (all in ex-Sherry).
9,200 bottles filled at the end of the year, so in the midst of the pandemic, part of the Wood Series to which, however, brings the novelty of ageing rather than full maturation in a type of cask (like the 15yo in rum in 2019, for example), choosing Portuguese fortified wine in first-fill casks (or ‘fresh casks’, as they call them).
Sweet and slightly acidic peat on the nose, a compote of burnt wood, red fruits and ripe plums that is soon joined by agricultural evocations of wet earth, tractor fuel and rust. The evocations grow with time, bringing out a potpourri of creamy caramel, roasted cashews, chestnut honey, mushrooms, buttermilk, a syncopated dance of aromas that seems tireless, alternating moments of sweetness with others that are more sour and acidic, united by a thread of mineral and earthy smoke that guides the harmonics. Amusing.
On the palate, the smoke traces a linear path along which the flavours march, more orderly than on the nose, where a slight balsamic impression precedes the charge of fruit with strawberries, raspberries, plums and lime, followed by green tea, tobacco and cooked cream. A vegetal and bitter streak snakes through the mouth, with sprinkles of salt more evident along the length, together with notes of ginger and white pepper at the edges.
The finish is rather long and dry, with ginger, burnt wood, tobacco, citrus, vegetable notes and salt.
To an engaging and truly stunning nose responds a more elegant and compact palate, without renouncing the richness of its components but perhaps losing that quid of anarchy that seemed to promise on the nose. But these are details on a whisky of the highest quality and with a great deal of work on the casks.