Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO for the sample!
Current Springbank brings all the boys and girls and everyone in between to the yard. Much like the world’s richest people have asked throughout time: If I can buy anything with limitless money, what if I had double limitless money?
Joking aside (seriously eat the fucking rich), what does one expect from older Springbank releases? If the standards are so good, then what are the cast offs like? I am used to distilleries that are balancing good and bad barrels, having to figure out what they can release at a profitable level, and the odd time when someone decides they can release utter garbage to make a quick buck because the majority of the industry has the morales of an 80s cartoon villain.
I’m not used to a group that gives a hell about their reputation!
Today I’ll be reviewing Springbank 20 1996 Hunter Laing Old & Rare Platinum Selection, a single sherry hogshead release by Hunter Laing in what I assume is their top releases however my luck someone from a country with a vast income gap and low human rights will correct me.
But what’s the chance that someone from China, the US, or Saudi Arabia who can afford those will read this?
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Vintage: October 1996
Bottled: November 2016
Cask Type: Sherry Hogshead
Number of bottles: 75
Colour: 2.5YR 3/8
Nose: Cherries jubilee, mulled wine, diesel, buttered pecans, mint chocolate doughnut, apple fritter
So I left this to open up longer, on the recommendation of the guy who handed me the sample, and even giving it extra time to write down the nose notes was crazy.
If you’ve never had a very complex whisky, it’s similar to the notes you typically get, however they come with baggage: The cherries smell stronger, with more brown sugar and spice notes. The spice has some fruit and alcohol notes, like mulled wine. The pecans were pre cooked with butter.
And before some asshole asks, no, I didn’t happen to just come off filling up a truck while making an 80s dessert and drinking an Xmas drink beforehand. It’s that complex.
Taste: Lime zest, buttertart, walnut, industrial grease, caramel rum sauce, daisies, plum candy
Initial sweet acidity followed by fatty brown butter, nuttiness, and then it screams “hey, I’m a Campbeltown” as loud as the Juggernaut in those terrible X-men movies with the industrial note.
Floral, strong molasses/caramel note, some sharp tart candy notes… seriously insane mixture of flavours, and just keeps opening up.
Finish: Black walnut, cloves, tobacco (spice/earthy), cocoa, cinnamon, sea air
The finish is a bunch of flavours I like, mixed with flavours I’m typically not loving, and some sea air. It focuses a bit more at the end on earth, spice, and bitterness, and while I wish there was a bit more sweetness to it, even I can’t be that bitter adverse to put this down.
Conclusion: Yeah, it’s amazing. Super complex, beyond what you normally drink, unless you are some sort of oligarch, then I guess you’re drinking better than me?
The only reason this isn’t getting the highest I’ve ever given out is I (as in me) am not in love with the finish. But it’s really, really good at the end of the day. Never felt overwhelmed, all of the flavours were complex and interesting, and nothing felt off. If you ever get the chance to try this, do it. It’s worth it.
Scotch review #1509, Campbeltown review #80, Whisky Network review #2216