Ah, Springbank Local Barley. I think I have tasted two of the 1965/1966 ones and those were some of the best whiskies I’ve ever had. Now there’s a new one, although there have been some releases for the Springbank Society over the years.
This one is a bit of an over hyped beastie. When it came out people jumped on it like there was no tomorrow, but in the end you could get the bottle practically anywhere. Of course, you still had to know people to be part of the first wave of bottles to come out. The second wave was already a tad more expensive. But, long story short, you could get bottles if you were quick enough.
The concept then. Contrary to the ‘home grown’ barley from Highland Park, which means it’s Scottish, it means local. Local as in, a farm just a few miles from distillery on Kintyre. The farm is called Low Machrimore Farm, in Southend on the tip of Scotland’s penis.
I really like the local idea of the whisky and it makes it a true Campbeltown malt with everything being done and originating close by. According to what I read on the internet this is the first (and oldest) of five releases.
The nose focuses almost solely on the malt. It’s a tad dirty like any good Springbank, slightly more than normally so. Some oak, some salinity. Apple cores, including the bitter seeds, pear skins, straw. A touch of menthol in the slight smokiness, not unlike cigarette smoke.
The palate is dry, sharp, sweet and slightly woody. A touch salty and quite oily, with a lot of grains being present too. Some peppery heat with a bit of vanilla. Mostly barley malt though.
The finish is sweet with quite a lot of alcohol kick. Some menthol. Quite long with vanilla and light smoke. A true Springbank.
The only drawback I can think of for this whisky is that it’s a fairly simple whisky. On the other hand that same simplicity is also one of the great things about it. It’s not distracted by strange casks, or other things.
The focus on barley in combination with everything that’s good about Springbank makes this an awesome dram. An important dram since there’s so much focus on tricks with whisky nowadays that this kind of old fashioned straight-forwardness is not something to scoff at. I wish more distillers went this way.
Salt, smoke, barley and oak. All combined in an oily sip of whisky. Absolutely gorgeous!
Tip: Get more than three cl of this to taste. This is one of those whiskies that gets better with a few glasses, simply because the simple (but awesome) profile isn’t something that normally stands out.
Springbank Local Barley, 16yo, 09/1999 – 01/2016, 54.3%. Currently available for just under 200 euros.