It's been a busy few days for us as we prepare for Christmas, so just one review for Monday, but we promise it’s a big one…
Springbank 10yo PX (Sherry Wood 2022 release)
This Springbank release is the first in a five part sherry series from the distillery. It was distilled July 2012, and initially matured for 7 years in refill bourbon barrels before being transferred and matured for a further 3 years in fresh Pedro Ximénez sherry hogsheads. Finally bottled in October 2022, just 10,800 bottles were made available.
For those interested, all the releases in this series will be 10 years old. Next years bottling will have spent 6 years in bourbon barrels before a 4 year finish in Palo Cortado casks. The third release will have been in bourbon for five years before being transferred to Amontillado casks for a five year finishing period. The fourth release will have been in bourbon for four years before a 6 years finish in Fino wood. The final release will have spent 3 years in bourbon and seven in Manzanilla casks.
We don’t usually discuss colour in our reviews as we’re more interested in taste, but for anyone wondering this release looks like cola and we’d have guessed it had been matured exclusively in sherry.
Initially we’re getting dates, figs, cola cubes, pipe smoke, and Christmas cake minus the icing. Going back to it after some air reveals warm salted caramel syrup / Biscoff syrup, red grapes and cranberries. It’s very sherry forward on the nose, and we’re not really getting much from the bourbon casks, and only a faint amount of Campbeltown funk. The PX finish is really dominating this. Saying that the notes that are here are very promising.
Our first sip tastes like flat cola reduced on the hob with some cloves and red berries mixed in. Lots of PX sweetness on a good length finish along with a little ash and cinnamon stick spice. Going back we’re getting mulled wine, dates, figs and raisins. Air reveals cranberries, cola and light peat. It’s got good oily mouthfeel, but if we’re being nit picky we’d say it’s got just slightly too much alcohol bite. Again, there’s not as much Campbeltown funk as we usually get from Springbank.
Nose (with water)
That missing Campbeltown funk comes out more when reduced. Alongside it there’s still plenty of caramel, fig and dates. As we go back to it we start to notice a note that reminds us of bread and butter pudding with raisins throughout. One last sniff reveals chocolate, smoke in the form of burnt toast, and a winey note that reminds us of a young Barbaresco (an Italian red wine produced in the Piedmont region).
Palate (with water)
A little reduction brings out blackcurrants, but strangely more of an alcohol bite. We’d expect the water to mellow the slight alcohol bite we mention above, but instead this feels like it’s been amped up to 10. All the pre dilution flavours remain, they’re just a little harder to pick out now. Finish remains a good length, but there’s now a fair amount of chilli and ginger spice appearing. It’s also developed a bitter note that wasn’t there before - grapefruit or orange pith. Mouthfeel remains good. personally we wouldn’t add water.
You can probably tell from above we really enjoyed this. It’s good spirit into good wood and the result is an excellent sherry bomb that retains just enough of the Springbank DNA we love. It’s not the most complex whisky you’ll ever try, but you won’t get a much better sherry bomb, and this is the perfect dram for Christmas assuming you can nab a bottle.
Our biggest gripe would be price, at RRP of £90 it seems very expensive for a 10yo Springbank. We understand why the Local Barley releases command a premium as working with the barley is difficult and the yield is lower. Here we can’t help but feel the only reason for the pricing would be that the distillery wants a share of all the cash the flippers are making off these limited releases. We can’t blame them for this, but it still feels a little sad that Springbank who have always been in their own little bubble, doing their own thing, would up the price on this. It feels like the end of an era with Springbank joining numerous other distilleries chasing profits.
Anyway onto the score… personally, while we’d pay over the £90 asking price for a bottle of this we couldn’t justify or recommend anyone pays the several hundreds of pounds these bottles are going for at auction. It’s an 8.5/10 for us.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.