A few years back (2005, to be precise), the good folks at Springbank released a very special 21 year old single malt. That dram is still one of the 50 or so whiskies that make up my all time top 10 list. 😉 And while that early incarnation of the official 21 may not have initially arrived on the scene with trumpets and fanfare, it was soon heralded as the revelation it truly was.
Fast forward to the present day and we have finally been blessed with a few additional versions of this iconic expression. Nowadays these 21s (and even a new 25!) have been hitting the market with annual regularity. This is great news for whisky lovers, as for several years the ‘official’ story (unofficially) was that Springbank had simply exhausted their stores of older casks. That we now have these sassy gold boxes in hand speaks volumes for Springbank’s careful cask management and current eye to maturing stocks. Good recovery, folks.
For today’s purposes, though, we’re looking at the 2013 edition. Let’s check in on what we have now compared to that glorious aforementioned old-enough-to-drink-itself expression.
Hmmm…immediately cause for reflection. This is definitely not the SB21 I know and love. It is still somewhat recognizable as a Springbank, but if poured for me blindly…I’m not sure I’d correctly identify it as coming from Campbeltown. The only true hint is the DNA of farm and lower mid range peat. It’s not that it veers far from the distillery character, but it definitely plays a little standoff-ish and restrained. I like this one, but I certainly don’t love it. Oh well. Kinda shores up suspicions I had that the 2005 edition was likely built with some casks older than 21 years.
Nose: Very soft right off. Fruit flan. Melon (honeydew and overripe cantaloupe). Faint smoke, but it’s more like charred wood than peat smoke. Some polish. Hay and floral notes. Oak. Maybe a touch of creamy chocolate and faint whiffs of leather. Turkish delight too perhaps?
Palate: Quite juicy at first. Slightly tannic as it develops, hinting at the depth of sherry influence. Waxy and oaky. Fruity still, but not as soft as the nose; leaning more to dried fruits. A little bit of bitter almond. Now we have a hint of peat. Orange peel and licorice. Oak is fairly forward.
Thoughts: A far cry from the glorious older edition of Springbank 21 (2005), but still good. The sweet and lowdown though…no way in hell is this worth the ~$350ca it will set you back. Oh yeah…almost forgot…the Golden Girls called…they want their gold lamé back. This is some gaudy awful packaging.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt