Any chance to try a rare old Springbank is cause for great excitement in these camps. Unfortunately, these opportunities don’t come along often, and are getting more and more scarce by the day. All related to the laws of supply and demand, my friends. Short supply…high demand…emerging markets…soaring costs. Sigh. Such is, unfortunately. A few years back, finding those extra special whiskies was like shooting fish in a barrel. Now it’s more akin to hunting the white whale. You can still find ’em, but it’s much less of a sure bet now.
Here we have a lovely old Springbank 25 from several years back. Not one you’re likely to come across often (if at all), but let’s have some fun parsing it to pieces anyway. What say?
I recall this one initially underwhelmed me when I first tasted it a couple years back, but on subsequent revisits I can’t imagine what the hell I might have been thinking. There is one particularly unique note in here that lights me up like a kid at Christmas. But we’ll come to that shortly.
Springbank is beloved by the whisky world for a multitude of reasons, but to break it down to what I think are the brass tacks…this is a whisky of great character, singular profile, traditional values and old school charm. In short…everything Scotch whisky should be is exemplified by this distillery. It’s no wonder the malt is so highly prized, especially in its more mature offerings. While you may have to dig deep into the coffers to afford some of these old gems, trust me…they ARE worth it. This 25 is no exception.
So…while this may not be my favorite Springbank (I think we’ll save that honour for either the beautiful older 21 or an amazing Signatory 1969), it is still a special dram, and certainly notches above most of the single malts that are hitting the shelves nowadays.
Here’s hoping there is plenty of stock gaining years in the warehouses in Campbeltown, because Springbank with a few years behind it is a truly an experience.
Nose: Smoky. Kerosene lamp or creosote or something. I’ve only ever found this note in a couple whiskies, and it is one of those absolute game-changer smells for me. Love it. Fresh paint on high quality wood. Deep oak notes. Beautiful. Caramel-drizzled fruits begin to emerge now. Sprinkling of spices. Wax. Bird’s Custard. Pears, orange and a bit more. Man, what a unique nose.
Palate: That same familiar smoky, oaky kerosene note comes through here as well. (Only ever found this in very old whisky. Is there something ancient buried in here somewhere?) Dry old spices. Something kinda weedy. Not nearly as pleasant as the nose hints at. Tart orange pith and rind. Dries into autumn grasses and green tea. Slightly tannic.
Thoughts: Great dram of unlimited personality. These glorious one-offs are what makes the quest we’re all on for that elusive ‘grail-malt’ worthwhile. Extra point for the nose.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt