My friends Floris and Bram, to some better known as The Whisky Nerds are on a roll. Coming of the high that was their trio of great Inchmurrins, they selected another cask to release in the waning of 2017. This time their pick is a Springbank 21 years old.
I got the tip that I really needed to sit down for this whisky instead of doing a more ‘first impression’ kind of review. This turned out to be a good tip.
Springbank is one of my favorite distilleries and whiskies so I was quite happy to see them bottle a cask of it. I’ve had several different expressions in the past and they generally are awesome drams. Initially I was worried they put the bar too high for themselves. But then again, they want something special…
At first the nose of this dram starts with a lot of dry barley, and after a few seconds the barley is joined by hints of flint. There’s dry oak with dried apple and other non-tropical orchard fruits. Pear skins, and some chalk. There’s a tiny hint of hessian/jute too, and some saltiness.
After about ten minutes the fruit gets turned down, and it becomes more about the traditional Springbank nose with more hints of barley, grist, oak and some salinity. More coastal, so to say.
After another ten minutes it starts to develop a whiff of smoke and soot.
It’s not exactly fierce on the arrival, but it is intense. The dry barley and grist are the main flavors initially. There’s quite a lot of oak too, with some white pepper.
A second sip is slightly more sweet with barley sugar and some gentler warmth. Softer oak, with malt sugars. The heat from the white pepper gets some more flavor and goes to black pepper instead. More fresh apple instead of the dried notes from the nose. Some wood spices too.
The palate keeps developing over time, and there are some more sweet notes after a while. Apricot jam, orange jelly (like in those orange sticks). I’m not getting any peat, but there is a certain sootiness. The greasy stuff on the inside of the fireplace.
The finish is very warming with slightly more earthy flavors. Lots of malt, oak and some mineral notes. Apple, pear and simple syrup. A whiff of black pepper and salt too.
Thijs said it was better than he could have hoped for. He is right. It’s a great combination of the typical Springbank flavors and little extra hints here and there. It truly warrants exporation and patience.
Even though after 21 long years the ABV still is almost 60%, you don’t really notice that and it’s dangerously drinkable. I especially loved the tiny hints of soot combined with the gentle fruitiness.
All in all, a truly great way to start 2018! As with practically all Whisky Nerds bottlings, this is already sold out, even though it clocked in at some 300/325 euros.
Springbank 21, 1996-2017, Hogshead 471, 58.1%, Whisky Nerds
Sample provided by The Whisky Nerds