Private casks are a bit more rare these days, than they were a decade or so ago. This is in part because it’s much harder to purchase casks from Springbank, and in part because Springbank started buying casks back year ago. Probably when they found out whisky was getting ridiculously popular, and not many distilleries more so than Springbank.
Luckily, not everyone sold their casks and now and then a private cask makes it’s way to market. Of course, I missed this one in the shop and was only made aware of it because of the sample I received from Best of Wines (thanks a million!). It was apparently hard to not miss it, since it sold out almost immediately.
Anyway, a 22 year old Springbank from a refill sherry hogshead. That’s a recipe for success in my book, and I waited a while before tasting it. This is not something to drink on a random Tuesday night, when you might be too tired to properly assess it.
With the first sniff I get straw and grass and barley. A fairly coastal scent of sand and brine as well. Pear skins, hessian and more graininess. There’s some oaky sweetness with a hint of honey as well. Lemon balm, minerals, sea shells, and a bitter kind of orange.
The palate is fairly sharp, but there’s some sweeter orange coming forward right away. There’s quite a lot of oak and barley too, with some waxy lemon peels. Some hints of espresso too, with a very dry texture. The longer you taste it, the more it mellows, and the citrus sweetness becomes a bit more pronounced, although I also keep getting pears on the palate.
The finish is that of a very classical Springbank, with warming hessian notes, a whiff of smoke. The sherry cask adds some orange and lemon, but the spirit keeps pushing the briny notes forward. Sand, sea shells, barley. A long, long finish that keeps switching between the citrusy fruitiness, and the briny flavors of Springbank itself.
Holy shit, this is a cracker. There’s so much going on on the nose and palate that you keep discovering new flavors and therefore it simply grabs your attention. Upon tasting this I had to remind myself to write notes since it’s just so intriguing.
I had to check Whiskybase, where it states that the value of this bottle currently sits just under € 300, and even so it is very much worth it. If it was available now, I’d buy a bottle. What an awesome dram!
Springbank 22 years old, 1997-2020, Refill Sherry Hogshead 582, ‘Private HMMJ Collection’.
Once again, thanks a million to Best of Wines for sending a sample.