Thanks to /u/devoz for sharing a sample of this one!
Terroir is a joke told by a silly man. We know many distilleries that use the same river, and they didn’t taste the exact same.
The reason, is of course, they use different barrels, different methods, different mashbills, and finally, different barley.
However, what if someone used a different, local barley, and did everything the same. Then we’d be able to figure out that part of their particular terroir, right? Or rather, how much the barley affects the final malt. Worse case scenario we end up with a cask strength Springbank, so no harm, no foul.
And thus we have the Local Barley releases from Springbank, or rather, today I’ll be reviewing Springbank 11 Local Barley, the most recent release of the Local Barley range. This specifical one is made with Bere barley from Aros farm, was matured in 26 ex-bourbon casks, and was bottled at cask strength.
I should also say that the Local Barley as a brad has been “revitalized” recently, so this is the second release of the new Local Barley. If you’re one of the few people who have tried the old ones, note that I am jealous of you and envy you a lot and simultaneously judge myself based on you.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Barnyard, butter, brine, cotton, milk chocolate, plum smoke, sprite-y youth
Initial smell is like being right back at my cousin’s pig farm. For some people that would be a horror story, but I got along with my cousins, and it was a fun place to visit and hang out.
More butter, more brine, and… wait, what the heck is plum smoke? I had a hard time explaining this one. When /u/throzen had it, he described it as “the mid point between meat and fruit”. I can’t personally divorce the fruit and smoke. I’ll have to try smoking plums at some point, to see if this was accurate or just how I think smoked plums come out.
On a different note: If there is something that exudes Springbank more, I’d be surprised.
Taste: Grapefruit, graham cracker, chocolate raisin, oak, molasses
Tart, good amount of sweet notes, and nice amount of chocolate and fruit. Given some time you have more and more brown sugar.
Big flavours. If you give this too much water (down below 50%) or too much time (longer than 40 minutes), you’ll find it becomes really light. Granted that’s pretty insane, and even I don’t take that long every time, so I feel a little sad mentioning it.
Finish: Brown butter, sage, noughat, tar, molasses, sprite-y, smoke, rubber
Big sweet finish. It’s somewhere between a potato gnocchi with sage and butter sauce and a smokey molasses cake.
So basically all the reasons I’m not going to see 80, in other words.
Also a little young at the end. I liked it, however it may turn you off.
Conclusion: So I preferred this one to the 16 year old, because the 16 tastes like a rum, and this tastes like a brash, young peated malt. And as you can see, I prefer whisky to rum, thus I prefer this one.
You have to like younger whisky to like this one. If you’ve had other Springbanks and didn’t like them, skip this. If you liked them, get this. It’s the profile to a T.
And that makes me wonder how much the barley had on it. On the one hand, it did have more molasses and sweetness. Beyond that? I’d have a hard time picking out a difference. I’m still glad they made it though, so go buy it.
Scotch review #617, Campbeltown review #34, Whisky Network review #1027