Tasting: Springbank 19 yo 1997-2016 (warehouse tasting)

Springbank 19 yo 1997-2017 (warehouse tasting)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: hand bottled
Distilled: 09.05.1997
Bottled: 2016
Age: 19 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Recharred Sherry #606
Alcohol: 58,8%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

To mentally prepare for the Springbank festival in May, which I’ll attend, I think it’s time I tasted a “wee toon dram” again. How about this 19 yo from last year’s festival? Let’s take a look – and a sniff and taste!

Tasting notes:
The nose has a lot of power! wow! it’s a re-charred cask (hogshead?), so there’s no sherry left, this is all Springbank distillate and even more wood! The cask spices are immediately there up front – I’m guessing European oak! Cough lozenges, liquorice, cloves, allspice, gentian and a hint of wormwood. The typical Springbank smoke is there, but it really has to fight through the spices, you could easily miss it! The base is made up of burnt toffee, caramel, a whiff of old cigar box and the freshness of illicit cherry distillate with loads of cracked cherry stones in the mash. An aromatic powerhouse, not for the faint at heart!
The palate (neat) is dry as a bone and packs a punch. Wham! The spices are back, cloves and allspice predominately with a chilli kick and liquorice! After quite a few seconds – and a lot of salivating – it gets rounder, mellower, mouth-filling and almost oily. A few dark fruits with fruity sweetness appear as well – plum fruit spread, yep, that’s it! I guess a few drops of water can’t hurt! Still dry at heart, slightly mellower, but the spicy kick remains! There is some peat smoke mingled in, but it doesn’t stand out. After a minute or so in the mouth, the fruits are back again, making for a dense, rich mouthfeel with thick dark fruit juice, cherry stones, burnt toffee, dark, salted chocolate and a pinch of demerara sugar. Don’t rush it! I kept it in my mouth for minutes. The long finish is spicy upon swallowing (did you expect anything else?) with a chilli catch, before mellowing down to reveal the dark fruits and associated fruity sweetness. Takes a long time to fade.

Oh… wow! Not for the faint of heart and not for those rushing things! Take your time, add a generous amount of water and you’ll be awarded with a multi-faceted, punchy, dense, interwoven dram meandering between spices and dark fruit sweetness. Somewhere between these aspects you can also find the typical Springbank character and a hint of peat smoke! This cask is/was only available as part of taking the Cadenhead’s warehouse tasting (or probably at auction at a ridiculous markup…). I can’t wait to visit the wee toon in May now, I hope there will be a similar stunner this year…!

Score: 91/100
(Nose: 89 Palate: 91 Finish: 91)

Thanks a bunch to malt mate Manny for the sample!

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