Bottling Series: Cask Strength – Batch 9
Bottled: August 2014
Age: 12 Years Old
Cask type: 60% Fresh + 40% Refill Sherry Hogsheads
Strength: 54.3 % Vol.
I have had a bottle of this sitting on the shelf un-opened since Christmas and thought it was long overdue for a sample. And now I find myself wondering why did I leave it so long before trying it.
In fairness, being aged in a sherry cask always meant I was going to like it but I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.
Colour: Dark copper
Nose: At first slight hint of sulphur, burnt matches. This only lasted a few seconds before the richness of Christmas cake and sweetness of toffee and caramel really come through. The more air this get the sweeter it becomes until it’s like standing in a sweet shop with your head in a mixed jar of barley-sugar and highland toffee.
Hidden beneath the sweetness there is a very subtle salty, peaty-ness as you’d expect from a Springbank. There is something about the mix of the salty, sweetness and sherry that just makes the mouth water in anticipation.
Palate: The initial burst is a very light smoke and salt, with treacle to add a little sweetness. From then it goes into overdrive. The sweetness starts to pull through with fudge and caramel standing our before you reach the fruitiness of a rich Christmas cake, before a spiciness comes through. The spiciness does lighten the longer it sits but is still there right and catches the tip of the tongue as you work through the dram.
Finish: There is a salty/smokey finish but is in perfect balance with the sweetness of the caramel and toffee notes. The oak from the cask does have a subtle influence on the finish with a hint of vanilla in there as well, but only to make this even more enjoyable. The length of the finish surprised me, it keeps going and keeps giving.
Verdict: This is an incredible dram from Springbank, I would say close to as good as the 18 year old. The balance of sweet and smoke is a joy to taste. This should be top of the list for the year so far, but is narrowly pipped to first by a 17 year old cask strength Glenlossie.
At around £47.00 a bottle this is an absolute gem and well worth the money.
Rating: 2 Bottles
Tasted on 06/02/14 by Stuart