Springbank 25 (2022) & Springbank Cage Bottle (refill sherry butt 8yo Rotation 390)


What better way to mark the start of the Campbeltown festival than with a review of the 2022 release of the 25. 

Springbank 25 (2022)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 46.0%

Price: £380.00

This year’s release is combination of 40% bourbon casks and 60% sherry casks. There were only 1300 bottles released.

Nose

Very delicate initially, lots of sugar, both barley and vanilla sweetness. The alcohol is really nicely integrated, no strong ethanol smells. There’s the faintest hint of peat in the background, mixing nicely with the dunnage warehouse funk. We’re also getting some melon, fresh pear and a touch of green apple. We’re not getting too much sherry on the nose at all, even though it’s 70% sherry casks, just a little Demerara sugar and cloves.

Palate

Apple, red grapes, more of that sugar coming through, more noticeable peat and alcohol here now. We’re still finding the balance great, with a good finish but the mouthfeel is a little lacking. There’s not much spice, we’re getting a touch of cinnamon and some chocolate too. Going back, we’re getting some salted caramel, a drizzle of honey and a little bit of dry oak.

Nose (with water)

With water more of peat emerges, along with apricots, tangerines and orange peel. It’s a little dusty now, old leather armchairs and old books. There’s also more citrus coming through beside the classic Campbeltown funk. It doesn’t need it but for us we think water does help bring out a little more.

Palate (with water)

On the reduced palate the peat becomes more present, it’s followed by fruit sweeties, lemon, apple, and orange flavour. There’s a fizziness on the tongue, maybe a little black pepper spice, and the mouthfeel has improved somewhat. Going back we’re getting more of a woodiness, a little rye bread and dark chocolate coated raisins.

Conclusion

It may be sacrilege to say, but it’s a little simple. Don’t get us wrong, it’s tasty and we’d happily drink a bottle, but it’s not overly complex and can be a little flat in places. Pleasant would be the word we’d say sums it up the best, but we had high hopes of something a bit more challenging and bold.

Score: 7.5/10


Springbank Cage Bottle (refill sherry butt 8yo Rotation 390)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 61.1%

Price: £60.00

We feel a little bad reviewing these “cage bottles” as so few people can get their hands on any of these now given current demand for Springbank, but a sample of this was available to us and we couldn’t pass it up. Who knows, maybe it’ll be terrible and nobody’s missing anything…

Nose

Initially we’re getting some classic Campbeltown funk, buttered crumpets, and basil. Air reveals some raisins, oats, roasted peanuts and chocolate chips. The peat comes through as an ashy / earthiness. There’s a hint of ethanol / malt in the background revealing the age.

Palate

This looks like a pretty dead cask given the pale yellow colour of the dram, but it’s jam packed with flavour courtesy of brown sugar, double cream, and a touch of cranberry. There’s a little peat here in the form of cigarette ash that lingers on the medium length finish. It has a very oily mouthfeel. it also doesn’t taste its ABV and goes down easy.

Nose (with water)

On the reduced nose the butter and funk disappears. There’s a chalky / mineral note here now along with it some orange, and mango. It’s still as smoky as it was pre dilution, but there’s now also a very faint note in the background that we’re struggling to identify but let’s call it decay.

Palate (with water)

Water has brought out the sweetness and we’re now getting some sugar cane, vanilla pod, orange peel, and sultanas. The smoke has virtually disappeared. This has a medium finish, with pleasant sweetness and fruit lingers on the tongue.

Conclusion

Personally, we didn’t get much from this that we would identify as being from the cask, but what we did get was pretty tasty. We were going to say that water shouldn’t be added to this as the note of decay is off putting for us, but with air / time that note disappeared. If you manage to try this you won’t be disappointed.

Score: 8/10

  • 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.

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