Springbank 16, 1998-2014, 56% – SMWS (27.107 – To The Manor Born)

It’s one of those obscurely named SMWS whiskies again. A Springbank at that. I’ve had some of the Society’s Springbanks before and was, unfortunately, never blown away by them.

Then this came along last year, just after Maltstock which I didn’t attend. I heard from some whisky buddies that this was one of the most impressive whiskies they tried at the festival and when I could order it through a whisky buddy in the UK, I didn’t wait long.

Luckily, I was also able to get a sample from the same source of hooch and I got around to trying last weekend.

Finally. Now, this deserves a bit of attention. This comes from a refill sherry gorda. A gorda is a huge cask of 700 liters and is with that the largest vessel allowed to contain whisky for maturation.

How they filled it, I don’t know. As in, did they fill it with spirit 16 years ago, or was this finished. If the latter, did they pour one bourbon or sherry cask in, or multiples to fill it to the full 700 liters? (A sherry cask generally is 500, and a bourbon cask varies from 200 to 250). Multiple casks would, technically, make it a not-single cask (SWA regulations and such).

Anyway, all geekery aside, let’s taste this supposedly awesome dram.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

Old wine at a farm. There’s a lot of quiet, old sherry in here. The syrupy stuff with sediment. A light scent of oak with lots of dried fruit. Almost like a red dessert wine. So, quite sweet with chocolate and soft nutty flavors. Brazil nut, pecans, walnut. After that it gets more earthy with hay, stables and sheep. All in a good way.

The palate is, again, sweet and winey. Fruit, with oak. A tad dry, but with flavors of grapes and plums, a lot of cherries. Slightly salty. A fairly bizarre whisky, this. Slate, over ripe cherries and that dessert wine again.

The finish is medium long, very rich with sherry and soft wine. Gentle and fruity.

I don’t think this is a very common whisky. I can’t remember tasting anything like this before and while it’s a bizarre dram, I’m loving it. I generally don’t care much for wine like whiskies, and I’m not sure what’s so different about this one, apart from the fact that it works.

The scents and flavors are all out there with fruit, wine, farmyard, but also a slight hint of minerals and slate (it is Springbank after all). That sedimented sweet wine is something I’m not entirely sure about and it does ring a bell, I just don’t know what else to call it. It’s not an easy one, this.

But, in short. It’s a gorgeous dram. I’m glad I got a couple of bottles!

Springbank 16, 31/5/1998 – 21/7/2014, Refill Ex-sherry Gorda, 56% – SMWS (27.107 – To The Manor Born)

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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