Funnily enough, when this got released in December, there was a mad scramble to get our hands on a bottle. My Bottle Share group on Facebook was mad about getting one and links to UK webshops were posted as soon as someone found stock.
Now, we’re a couple of weeks further along and when I just checked Whiskybase there’s quite some available stock in quite some countries. This stock, however, can be sub-divided into two categories: shops in countries that don’t ship abroad and shops that are trying to get some extra profit out of the fans by upping their prices.
Bottles in the first set are between 80 and 100 euros, and some shops in The Netherlands and Belgium have gone up to 140/150 euros a pop. So far, I’ve managed to get my bottles (one for sharing, one for later) somewhere between those prices. Luckily.
Anyway, I’m not sure if Springbank’s Local Barley range needs introduction. It’s a cycle of five whiskies released over five years (more or less). The first one was a 16 year old and my whisky of last year. The second was 11 and now there’s a 10 year old. There’s two more coming in, I guess, 2018 and 2019.
The reputation Springbank is cleverly using is that of their ancient Local Barley bottlings from the mid-sixties, bottled around the millennium at some 35 years old. Those were stunning and way out of the league of mere mortals by now.
Luckily, at semi-decent prices, they’ve managed to not botch up the reputation the range had built by releasing at least two very good ones. I hope to review last year’s 11 year old soon-ish.
The 10 year old, distilled in 2007 and bottled at the end of 2017 clocks in at a whopping 57.3%. Not there are no stronger whiskies out there, but Springbank has a tendency of having cask strength bottles at lower than expected ABVs, over the last couple of years.
Also, as with a lot of Springbank releases nowadays, the bottling consists of 70% bourbon casks, and 30% sherry casks.
On the nose there’s a mountain of barley, but it’s rather quiet at first. It takes a bit of time to get going. Somehow, there’s a promise of a big and oily whisky. Some vanilla crumble, and strangely (never had this before) some thistle oil. Thistles, rushes, and other plants you don’t want in your field. Stale bread, toast, and the tiniest whiff of smoke.
Very warming and dry, with a very oily mouthfeel. It feels a bit like a mix of thistle oil and a more machine oil flavor. Barley and other ‘wild flowers’. I can imagine flavors like this coming from a kintyre field. As said, oily, big, dry. A touch of vanilla and smoke, with some peppery heat as well.
The finish gets a bit more bright, but it never leaves the oiliness behind. The barley is a bit lighter, as is the sudden hint of dried apple. The warmth of the alcohol lingers, but it doesn’t stay sharp, which it was a bit on the palate. Dry, with hints of oak and white pepper.
In short, this is a cracker. More in line with the 16 year old than with last year’s 11 year old. That might be because last year’s whisky used bere barley instead of more modern varieties. It’s a very big whisky, and due to it being only ten years old there’s not a lot of oak taking up space of the spirit. Big and oily, as you’d expect if you’ve seen the distillery.
I really suggest trying to get one if you’ve not already done so. It’s not cheap for a ten year old whisky, but you’d be supporting a bit of provenance, a kick-ass distillery and proper craft when making whisky.
Springbank Local Barley 10, 2007-2017, 57.3%, available at widely varying prices. Check Whiskybase