Today, a pair of old Springbanks. What thrilling words with which to start a day, it’s enough to make you leap out of bed at the crack of noon. My feelings on Springbank are well documented elsewhere on this blog and in certain recesses of the ‘real’ world and are probably quite similar to yours so there is little point in regurgitating them here. Suffice to say I bloody love the stuff. Right let’s
Dunaverty 12yo (Springbank). Cadenhead’s. Latter 1970s. 43%. 75cl.
This was a dram very kindly opened by Bram (‘Bram’s Drams’, possible business idea Bram?) at the Lindores Whisky Fest last week. Thanks Bram!
Nose: Well it definitely smells like Springbank, that unmistakeable mix of seashore, white fruits, hessian, light peats, minerals and more fruit. Classic old school Springbank in every way. Beautiful coastal aromas in this one, lemon juice, lemon grass, brine, seaweed, kelp, oysters, kreel nets, wet pebbles, sandalwood and a huge, bold freshness. White pepper, dunnage warehouses, lots of green fruits, apple peelings, creosote, camphor, lamp oil, light medicinal touches like gauze and tcp along with some very nice cereal and bready touches underneath. Fantastic nose!
Palate: Rich and intense delivery for a 43% malt, chewy malt notes, dusty cereals, minerals, more lemon juice and lemon sherbet, green peats, mashy notes, baked potatoes, metal polish, all kinds of oils, enuthymol toothpaste and a basket of fresh herbs. Gets then a little more buttery and spicy and a bit of vanilla, cloves, wood resins, brown bread, mustard seeds, paprika and moroccan hummus (the most radio 4 tasting note ever I think). Really pleasant to drink this one, it’s not a sexy or easy whisky by any measure, but if you enjoy this old style then you’ll adore this malt. It’s so quietly classy, like the cool guy at the back of the room that doesn’t need to do anything because he’s just cool.
Finish: Medium-long with more boiled cereals and coastal notes, peppered mackerel, kippers, bonfires, some grisly peaty notes and a drying saltyness.
Comments: A great Springbank and a fascinating insight into a legendary era of distillate at a more tender age. Remember it was from this stock that many incredible older casks were bottled in the coming decades. Clearly they were already damn good at this age.
Springbank 25yo. OB. Early 90s. Japanese Import possibly judging by the neck label. 46%. 75cl.
I gave the 30yo version of this 93 points, lets see if the 25yo can stand up to that. Interesting to bear in mind that this bottling is composed of spirit distilled in the same era as that which made up the Dunaverty Bottling.
Colour: Immediately similar to the Dunaverty but only more intense and concentrated in every aspect. The fruit is bigger and more extravagant while the coastal qualities are sharper and more focused. Lots of grapefruit, cereals, bananas, wet pebbles, minerals, green apples, muesli, salted butter, camphor, soot and waxy brine notes. There’s nothing like as much peat in this one as there was in the Dunaverty, this one seems all concentrated on fruit and coastal notes, but that directness is very beautiful and quite arresting. Super-clean, precise and perfectly balanced with hints of eucalyptus beginning to emerge after a few minutes.
Palate: A big gripping salty delivery followed immediately by a rush of green and tropical fruits, all kinds of fruits in fact, quite a stunning delivery. Goes on with more green banana flavours, sultanas, demerara sugar, cocoa powder, seashore, minerals, lychee, bubblegum and wine gums. A great fruit driven profile here, very lush and intense, the complexity isn’t huge but the balance and control is masterly. The coastal aspects are refreshingly drying round the edges with some notes of cocoanut, aspirin and watercress. A wake up call of a whisky.
Finish: Long and endlessly fruity with plenty of lingering coastal bite.
Comments: Brilliant. Not quite as brilliant as the 30yo I think but still brilliant. Maybe the stuff they are making at the distillery these days will reach similar heights in 15-20 years time. I really hope so.