Thanks to /u/xile_ for these samples.
In a recent online discussion, someone brought up that Springbank was now so popular that the price is stopping people from being able to afford it, thus making it harder to buy, thus screwing more people at trying it, and here we are.
However every so often some of the younger ones are there for us, the lower classes who save our pennies for the bread lines and whatnot.
But what if we compared two side by side? Well, I was at a tasting where one was poured, and another where another, different, older version was poured.
Let’s see how they differ, shall we?
Springbank 9 Local Barley is the fourth in a fifth part series of Springbanks using nothing more than pure gumption and can-do spirit to make them. Wait, what’s that? That’s complete shit? Oh, it’s made from Local Barley, made in the area. It’s fourth in the series, all made from Local Barley, named… Well Local Barley. It’s not that hard.
So it’s 9 years old, cask strength, and made up of 80% bourbon casks and 20% sherry casks. But how does it tastes? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Types: 80% Bourbon & 20% Sherry
Number of bottles: 9,700
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Floral, maritime, grapefruit, funky, chocolate chips, pears
It starts out with floral and salty. Some acidity. Not completely off on a Springbank. I can see why they did more ex-bourbon from the nose, with sherry notes popping up.
Don’t worry funk fans, it’s there too. Water brings out more chocolate and fruit.
Taste: Hot chocolate, blueberry syrup, blue cheese, peach, lemongrass
Opens up with more and more cocoa, less tart, sugar-filled, and some of that funk is closer to the creamy side.
In other words, if it was sold at I-HOP, I’d order it in a second, and disgust all of you by eating it like a mongrel who’s been starved for weeks. Water brings out more acidity and sweet stone fruit notes make it a bit regular and normal.
Finish: Cocoa biscotti, brine, blueberry, funk, papaya, grapefruit
More cocoa with some flour/cereal notes, more of the brine and blueberry, and a simpler funk. Water again ruins the funk with tropical and acidic fruit.
Conclusion: Cocoa heavy, nice young Springbank. I think I’ve enjoyed previous versions a bit more, however that taste was quite unique and hit a lot of flavours I really enjoy. The nose is a bit on the Lowland side, with floral/lighter notes.
The cocoa note goes through it and that’s fun. Frankly, if you’ve missed the other local barley offerings this is still nice, though it’s a bit pricey.
Springbank 19 1996 Port Cask is one that I’m going to have to come back to. During the tasting, I noted this as subtle, and frankly, people weren’t the biggest fans of that.
So at some point, I’ll be re-reviewing this one.
The reason? Simple. When I have a Springbank, I expect it to be bombastic and powerful and blow me away. At least, the first one did (which you’ll note is my first review ever).
So when this one wasn’t that, I kept saying it was subtle. And luckily I have honest friends who told me I was super wrong. So I spent more time with it and realized my bias.
What did I think? Let’s get to that, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Number: 731
Cask Type: Fresh Port Cask
Colour: 5Y 7/10
Nose: Caramel, violets, mineral, plum, gingerbread, rosemary
Fruity and caramel. Any smoke is now spice and butter, though it takes some water to bring that out. A good mixture of flavours here, the port is quite strong here.
Taste: Bubblegum, black tea, anise cookies, caramel, cream cheese
Sweeter on the taste. The port takes over more, there’s a tannic note and more of that butter and spice going on. Water brings out a bit of funk, though as I said, this isn’t being super strong.
That said, compared to other whiskies, versus just other Springbanks, this has some nice flavours going on.
Finish: Blackberry, grassy, mint, molasses, lemon syrup
Tart finish, some more of the malt takes over here. Good amount of acidity.
Conclusion: Very middle of the road Springbank. Nothing over the top, but nothing that’ll make you bored with it. I don’t know, maybe it was the one before this one that made me think this should be stronger, maybe I was burned out, I don’t know.
I’m going to be revisiting this eventually, see if I change my mind. Certainly is a nice spice and fruity dram that has tannic and sweet elements to enhance it. Just don’t have it right after a major exam and try and figure it out, I guess? Who knows.
Scotch reviews #1153-4, Campbeltown reviews #55-56, Whisky reviews #1777-8