"Like I am sitting on the limestone steps with my girl sitting next to me eating a tropical fruit ice cream, and the sea wind blowing the smell of fountain into our face, lovely"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Tasting notes are very personal, everybody knows. That is why some think that reading tasting notes is like… I personally think that tasting notes can be very useful, however, you need put them in reference to others by the same taster that describe whiskies that you are already familiar with. In that way, you can estimate if the palate of the online taster is somewhere near your own. Obviously that does not hold true for all the different types of whiskies judged by that particular taster, but still it gives you a framework.
Once in while, you read tasting notes that are so for off your own experience that it just bewilders you. For some reason, I often have that with descriptions written on by the distillery or independent bottler that is releasing that particular whisky. My latest example would be the Springbank 15-years.
So here is what Springbank predicts: “Like a storm gathering off the Kintyre coast, our 15-year-old Springbank is dark and ominous, yet delicious. Best enjoyed after dinner or with your favourite cigar, this is a true classic. Nose: Demerara sugar, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, almonds, toffee, oak. Palate: Creamy, raisins, dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla. Finish: Oak and sherry notes sustain and mingle with hints of leather.”
Well, after reading my own thoughts below, you understand what I mean…
The sniff delivers lots of apples and pears. The peat is initially well hidden, but an ashy smoke appears after a few sniffs. Chalk, a typical feature of Springbank for me, and wet stones take centre in the nose, before it gets sweeter with syrup, rum cake, and pears poached in wine and cinnamon. In the back tropical fruits present themselves with passion fruit, mango and peach, supplement with a few red fruits. There is a hint of citrus freshness, some vanilla essence, Sprite, orange soda, and something slightly chemical.
More peat compared to the nose, slightly dry and lots of wet stones, chalk and limestone. It has light musty feeling with leather and mud. Tar, ashy, grass and some bright fruits with hints of fresh pears, hot beach sand, and warm grass. I feel like I am sitting on the old limestone steps and my girl is eating a tropical fruit ice cream, while the sea wind blows sand in our face and brings the smells of the fountain on the square in front of us, old buildings and distant orchards. Lovely.
First remark, I do not get any of the stormy, dark, chocolate-y, nutty, sherry-associated notes of the description. Or did I have a previous version that contain much less sherry casks? My second remark is the different characteristics compared to the Springbank 10 years. The chalk, pears and peat are there, but the 15-year-old version is much more restraint. You could say it has less immediacy and more elegance. Quality is has plenty, although my preference might go to the 10-year-old.
Thanks for sharing the sample,
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •