I generally like Springbank, both for their whisky and the way they’re doing business. Most of their stuff has an age statement, most of their whiskies are at least sort of affordable.
They also do quite a few private casks. Our club had a Longrow club bottling a few years ago, and I’ve tried some other private casks over the years. On Facebook someone was selling part of his collection of Springbank 2000 Port Cask bottles, and I made sure to snatch one up, for a bottle share of course.
Obviously these are not the cheapest of bottlings, but they tend to show a rugged version of Springbank, which I happen to like. My favorite private bottling of the distillery still is a 10 year old bottled for The Ben Nevis club in Alkmaar (if I got my facts straight).
Anyway, a port cask sounded interesting, and I love Springbank. Cask strength, some age, all things to like!
Despite Port casks not always being overly clear in a whisky there is a certain, undeniably Port influenced mustiness in this whisky. It’s really heavy and big because of it. Stewed cherries and berries, quite a bit of oak and also dry leather. A sweet syrupy scent as well. In the background I get some mineral like scents, like corroding iron and slate.
Big, heavy and sweet with stewed red fruits. The heavy kind like blackberries and cherries, not like strawberries and such. Oak, sugar syrup, some nuts as well. Maybe more nutty than leathery. Musty though, and that iron like note makes it sharp.
After a while I get cracked black peppercorns too. Those add to the strong wood notes.
The finish is quite big and has some dry notes. Walnuts, dry port. Not necessarily the flavor, but the texture. The flavor has those nuts later, and oak. The fruit is gone, and the sweetness is more like spiced cake. A fairly long finish with an ever so gentle note of smoke.
Not my favorite Springbank, and maybe not even my favorite Port matured Springbank, but a fair try nonetheless. Interesting at the price it was going for through the secondary market. The € 200 on Whiskybase would mean overpaying, by a fair margin.
The sweet notes are interesting since they’re a bit fruity, but also quite nutty and woody. The mustiness is not unexpected, but it might be a bit too forward.
Springbank 05/2000-07/2015, 15yo, Port Hogshead, 50.9% – OB for Awico. Available for € 199 at Whisky Hort in Germany