This is a bit of a weird one. Initially, this cask was selected by attendees of the Springbank Whisky Festival in 2015, to be bottled as a Springbank Society bottling. However, the cask was almost empty when they wanted to bottle it, because it leaked. A different cask was selected and this cask was bottled for the attendees of the tasting instead of the Springbank Society.
Through a bottle share club I’m in I was able to get my hands on a sample of this, and recently I decided to try it, even if it was just to get through some of the sort-of-random samples I’d collected over the years.
Anyway, an 18 year old Hazelburn, that’s about as old as they were back then. Of course, we’re a couple of years down the line nown and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 21 year old popping up this year. 21 Seems to be the sweet spot for a lot of Springbank releases.
Lots of oak, more than you’d expect from an 18 year old. This might be because of the leakage, which tends to concentrate wood influences in the remaining booze. It’s warming and intense. Toasted bread, lots of fruit, cherry, blackberry, almond, cherry stones. Crusty bread and slightly funky scents too. It’s a weird combination of freshness, funkiness and lightness.
The palate is intense, but also crisp and dry. Funky, like a ‘real’ Springbank. Moldy and earthy, with dunnage warehouses, almond and hazelnut. Dry with old oak.
The finish mellows quickly, but still has some bite to it. Dry, lots of old oak and funky earthiness. The flavors you’d expect from the old warehouses at Springbank.
When the ‘Leaky cask’ was advertised, I expected some wacky, out of balance whisky with lots of oak driven flavors. Combine that with this being a Springbank and from a sherry butt and you start expecting funky mushrooms, moldy warehouses and lots of heavy fruit.
It delivers on all fronts. And it does so in great order. The out-of-balanceness of the whisky keeps it just shy of absolute greatness but if the society releases casks like this more often, I’d be a happy camper.
At the time of writing there’s only one bottle available through the Whiskybase Marketplace, for a whopping 400 euros. That’s a bit steep, if you ask me.
Hazelburn 18, 1997-2015, Leaky Refill Sherry Butt, Rotation 1013, Warehouse 15, 54.4%, Duty Paid Sample for The Sprinbank Society