Tasting: Springbank 1994-2019 24-year-old by Cadenhead’s

Springbank 1994-2019 24-year-old by Cadenhead's

Every year, independent bottler Cadenhead’s gets to select one cask of Springbank whisky to bottle under their own name – and they have to pay their parent company, which owns Springbank distillery, for it. This year, the winner out of apparently 37 casks was a 24-year old Springbank, distilled back in 1994 and matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel. Must’ve been one heck of a barrel with an outturn of 312 bottles. Maybe it was married and re-racked at some point?
This whisky was featured as one of the drams in the “Director’s Cut” tasting at the Campbeltown Malts Festival this year as a preview and I brought the drample back home with me for a proper assessment.
So, what do you expect from this whisky? Nothing but the best, right? Let’s verify that…

Springbank 1994-2019 24-year-old by Cadenhead's

Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1994
Bottled: 2019
Age: 24 years
Limitation: 312 bottles
Cask: refill barrel
Alcohol: 50,8%
no colouring added / not chill filtered
Whiskybase link

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Tasting: Springbank 22 yo 1996 by Claxton’s

Tasting: Springbank 22 yo 1996 by Claxton's

When I saw that Serge over at Whiskyfun HQ published a review of this whisky today, I remembered I still had half a sample from a tweet tasting in late 2018 sitting around waiting to be reviewed. So I didn’t read his notes beforehand in order not to influence myself too much and now it’s time to stick my nose in – taking my time to properly review this outside of the rush and typing frenzy that usually accompany tweet tastings. Men can’t multitask, ya know 😉

Tasting: Springbank 22 yo 1996 by Claxton's

Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Claxton’s
Distilled: 10.05.1996
Bottled: 04.09.2018
Age: 22
Limitation: 249 bottles
Cask: Bourbon Hogshead
Alcohol: 55%
uncoloured / not chill filtered
Whiskybase link

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Tasting: Longrow Open Day 2018 13 yo Refill Port

Longrow Open Day 2018 13 yo Refill Port

Longrow Open Day 2018 13 yo Refill PortDram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: February 2005
Bottled: 14.05.2018
Age: 13 years
Limitation: 1096 bottles
Casks: Refill Port
Alcohol: 58,7%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Longrow. The heavily peated spirit produced at the quirky Springbank distillery in “wee toon” Campbeltown. Bottled for their 2018 whisky festival. What could possibly go wrong…?

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red gold
The nose has a slight alcoholic punch to it at the beginning – no wonder, looking at the strength. Beneath the alcohol rich, dark goodness awaits. We’ve got dried dates, dried figs, dried plums and a few raisins on top served on a spicy, peat smoked oak platter garnished with allspice, cloves, tangerine peel and ginger. The slightest whiff of sulphur came and went quickly, a bit longer lasting is a whiff of the Campbeltown dunnage warehouse funkiness (some might call it dark chocolate…). Rather lovely start. Let’s move on to the palate! 

Continue reading “Tasting: Longrow Open Day 2018 13 yo Refill Port”

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

Springbank 19 yo 1997-2017 (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:
Colour:
 mahogany
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!
Continue reading “Tasting: Springbank 19 yo 1997-2016 (warehouse tasting)”

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24 drams till Christmas 2016 #16: Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)

Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)

Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: 11.2003
Bottled: 05.2016
Age: 12
Limitation: 10260 bottles
Casks: 1st fill Burgundy barrels
Alcohol: 53,5%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

So… we’ve had Madeira finished Finnish whisky yesterday, so let’s stay with wine finishes/maturations and pour a dram of a hugely popular Springbank from earlier this year.

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red gold
The nose opens with quite a lot of peat smoke for a Springbank whisky. I’ve had more subtle Longrow drams! Not that I’m complaining! Once you cut through the peat there’s the usual slightly salty note intermingled with fresh mint and a whiff of alcohol. Digging even deeper we finally arrive at the core of the whisky. Very noticeable wine cask influence. Sweet grapes, grape seeds, candied oranges and pineapples, pickled ginger, mango sorbet with lemon drizzled on top, fruity pipe tobacco and Swiss orange cough drops. Not an easy dram. Let’s check the palate:  Continue reading “24 drams till Christmas 2016 #16: Springbank 12 yo Burgundy (2016)”

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Tasting: Kilkerran 12 yo (Inaugural release)

Kilkerran 12 yo (Inaugural release)

Kilkerran 12 yo (Inaugural release)Dram data:
Distillery: Glengyle
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: September 2016
Age: 12
Limitation: –
Casks: 70% ex-bourbon +30% ex-sherry
Alcohol: 46%
Unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Twelve long years ago I had just finished school and started my mandatory military service. But twelve years ago, in the “wee toon” of Campbeltown, a miracle happened: A new distillery was born. The owners of Springbank distillery decided to revive the old buildings of the Glengyle distillery, and industry legend Frank McHardy was given the order to carry out the task. And now, in fall of 2016 we can finally taste the first “finished” product after a series of “Work in progress” bottlings, the last of which were truly spectacular, especially last year’s bourbon matured release. Needless to say, expectations are very high but I’m sure we won’t be disappointed!

Tasting notes:
Colour: 
gold
The nose is exactly as I expected it to be! Just like the last bottlings, this redefines a light spirit character. This is everything but a modern in-your-face whisky. This is a style almost lost in today’s wood-driven, over-finished marketplace. But how is it? Well, there’s a very light amount of peat (the malt is produced to Springbank style specification) mixed with light fruits, Campbeltown salt notes and a slight mineral note. Very elegant. We’ve got tinned tangerines, apricots, white peaches, sweet grapes, pears, apple peelings and the tiniest pinch of oriental spices. All of those fruits are served next to freshly ground chalk stones on the Campbeltown pier with the smoke from a distant peat fire drifting by. Very well put together, everything is so much more than the sum of its parts. Oh, and did I mention it keeping a light and delicate, yet never fragile profile? No marketing department would order something like that, they’d have it smothered under extreme sherry cask pressure… With water: Slightly rounder and more light fruits. Continue reading “Tasting: Kilkerran 12 yo (Inaugural release)”

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Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 – 2016

Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 - 2016

Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 - 2016Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: September 1999
Bottled: January 2016
Age: 16 years
Limitation: 9000 bottles
Casks: 80% Ex-Bourbon, 20% Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 54.3%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
barley gold
Springbank Local Barley. Those three words make a malt lovers’ heart beat faster. The old bottlings are legendary and after many years of waiting a new edition is out, with four more to follow in the upcoming years. The barley was grown a few miles south of Campbeltown on Low Machrimore farm. The barley variety used was Prisma – not particularly often heard of these days and I’m glad they mention these little details because the influence of barley on the whisky is rarely talked about these days, but it does exist – just ask a homebrewer – and why would it be different for whisky? This dram was, of course, also malted, distilled, matured and bottled in Campbeltown. A 100% local product. Except for the glass, cork and box… Right, on to the whisky then!
The nose opens on the light, delicate and mineral side. Quite a lot of bourbon in the mix and I can’t help but think of the sublime bourbon matured Kilkerran for a second – they’re sisters in spirit, but different enough. Very well-integrated peat smoke, on the smokier side as far as Springbanks go. A delicate hint of non-vulgar vanilla with wet beach pebbles, sewing machine oil, aromatic red and green apples, sweet pears, pear peel, slightly green gooseberries and apricots with a hint of apricot distillate (including kernels). Continue reading “Tasting: Springbank Local Barley 16 yo 1999 – 2016”

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24 drams till Christmas tasting #4: Longrow 18 yo (2014 edition)

Longrow 18 yo (2014 edition)Dram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014
Age: 18 years
Limitation: –
Casks: (mostly?) Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
amber
The nose just immediately makes me smile, which is usually a very good sign. A dark and layered dram. Let’s search for the peat first. Longrow peat levels can vary, as it’s a purely manual process on the traditional malt floors and aging for 18+ years does reduce the smoke levels. Just a hint of aromatic peat remains – blending in with cask spices and dark sherry notes. Salted toffee, treacle, dark milk chocolate, coffee beans, cocoa beans, vanilla pods with the innards scraped out, old leather jacket in granny’s wardrobe, a concentrate of very dry dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums). Not too sweet though, there’s also a dry sherry component (Oloroso?). This is pure, sexy, no-frills style.
Continue reading “24 drams till Christmas tasting #4: Longrow 18 yo (2014 edition)”

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Tasting: Glengyle Kilkerran WIP 7 Bourbon 2004-2015

Kilkerran WIP 7Dram data:
Distillery: Glengyle
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: 2015
Age: ca. 11 years
Limitation: 6000 bottles
Casks: ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 54,1%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
Gold
The nose opens just the way one expects the ex-bourbon Kilkerrans to: A bit shy yet elegant and full of character: Loads of vanilla and custard with a distinct sweetness, the typical fragrant Springbank peat and a hint of salt spray. At cask strength there’s also a noticeable alcohol note, so let’s add a dollop of water, shall we? Continue reading “Tasting: Glengyle Kilkerran WIP 7 Bourbon 2004-2015”

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Tasting: Glengyle Kilkerran WIP 7 Sherry 2004-2015

Kilkerran WIP 7

Kilkerran WIP 7Dram data:
Distillery: Glengyle
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: 2015
Age: ca. 11 years
Limitation: 12000 bottles
Casks: ex-sherry
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
fresh, reddish copper
This is not a big sherry monster on the nose – just like in previous years, it is sweet, fruity yet still delicate and gentle. There’s caramel, blood oranges with bits and peel, orange marmalade with ginger, light Oloroso sherry sweetness, sweet wine grapes, caramelised ginger and pineapple, fresh dates and figs, rock sugar, hints of spices and a light eucalyptus note from the alcohol (it’s hot in Austria at the moment so there’s quite some evaporation going on). Continue reading “Tasting: Glengyle Kilkerran WIP 7 Sherry 2004-2015”

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