"Good example of how Springbank does a good job in combining its flavourful spirit with good wine casks, recommended if you can get it"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
for Springbank Society
Like many distilleries nowadays, Springbank has its own society. For £50 you can join them, for which you will get free distillery tours when you are in the neighborhood, a free polo shirt and some other kind advantages. The most important one for the majority of the society members, though, is the opportunity to claim one of the exclusive bottles. In particular, since the society has the habit to select very special and interesting casks for these releases. An example is the currently latest release from October 2017, for which they chose spirit that exclusively from fresh Sauternes casks. So no cask-switch, no mingling, and on top of that, it is a Longrow, the peated version of Springbank. So are we in for a special treat?
The moment you put your nose in the glass, it is filled with sweet summer fruits, aromatic oils, supported by a light smokey undercurrent. You directly get that this is somewhat different from the mainstream Springbanks that you are used to. There is a mix of oily fruit salad, containing pineapple and peaches, sunflower oil and a single strawberry on top. It appear somebody just shot a gun nearby, or a bunch of kids used those toy clap guns. A clear smell of gunpowder, or a freshly lit fire. It stays sweet and fruity, hot custard puddings with raspberry coulis, with fresh vanilla pods, accompanied by a sweet white dessert wine. The sweetness is rather complex with also some fresher white wines, smoked Calvados, jelly babies, and other sweet things that momentarily do not cross my mind. Counterbalanced by some vegetable nuances like cabbage and smoked grass. Adding water tones down the experience, and adds slightly more acidic notes including unripe yellow fruits, citrus fruits and citrus candies. No improvement in my opinion.
Whoaah! Instantly powerful with gunpowder, smoked pineapple, peat smoke and orange juice (also smoked). It becomes fruity and… sandy. Beach sand with a splash of spilled fruit juice (not you would put that in your mouth). Then more smoke, ashes and peat. The balance between the Longrow peatiness and the sweetness of the Sauternes cash is well achieved. Water brings more acidity, less smoke, and more beach sand, autumn leaves, lime skin, and grapefruit.
My first thought is this is indeed an interesting version of Springbank. You have to like to wine-y sweetness, and I think the smokiness of the Longrow is needed as a counterbalance. I also prefer it to the overly sweet Barolo cask-finished Hazelburn of last year, which obviously lacked the smoky side. So they have achieved to release something different from the mainstream range and choose a high quality dram for their members. In addition, I am reminded that I need to try more Longrow…
Thanks to for sharing the sample
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •