Two big releases from Campbeltown to start our week...
Springbank 30 (2022)
Springbank 30 is a mixture of 15% sherry casks and 85% bourbon casks. 1,400 bottles were released.
Apple, lots of cinnamon, oak, vanilla sponge cake, and a touch of cherry jam. We’re finding the sherry influence isn’t particularly prominent, and the alcohol is barely noticeable. Going back we’re getting a little caramelised pineapple and the very faintest hint of smoke, like the pineapple briefly touched the BBQ. This is an absolute pleasure to nose and we don’t want to take a sip as there’s no way the palate can match this.
It’s woodier than expected, quite dry with wood shavings and a dry white wine flavour. There’s elements of cherry jam on the palate that follow into a lingering smoke on the finish. There’s a nice orange/lemon citrus note on the front of the palate which brightens this a little, with some fresh apple and smoked peaches later on. The smoke reminds us of a smoked Bavarian cheese. It’s bright, vibrant but drier than expected. The finish is long and pleasant with a little smoke and oak lingering.
Nose (with water)
It's now more mineral forward, with wet pebbles and a touch of sea salt. It’s lost a lot of the fresh fruit and vanilla sweetness, replaced with more wood and some toasted white bread. We’re finding the nose is a little more closed off now, not giving as much away as before. Slightly disappointing.
Palate (with water)
We’re getting more spice and bitterness from the wood, and for us it’s ruined this somewhat. There’s some ginger, cardamom, and a floral note that we can’t quite place. Saying that, it’s by no means bad, it was just so much better without the addition of water.
It’s got a stunning nose, one of the best we’ve encountered in a while. It’s also got a great palate, that is unfortunately ruined by the addition water. 30 year old Springbank is always going to be expensive, but for us this is just too pricey. We’re very lucky to have had the opportunity to try this, but for the price we’d grab some of the younger expressions instead. We’re not going to use our usual scale for this, as we can’t justify the price, but it’s a 8/10 quality wise. We’d happily drink through a bottle or 6 if money was no object.
Longrow 21 (2022 Single Cask for UK)
This is one of a recent release of single cask Longrows bottled and released for various markets around the world. The spirit has spent its life in a fresh sherry hogshead. Just 252 bottles were released.
There’s a funkiness to this, cheese like, camembert perhaps? We’re also getting some pear, white grapes and a big slap of peat smoke as well. There’s a nice creamy, butteriness on the nose too. Going back we’re getting some nutmeg and varnish. There’s also a root beer like aroma here, and latex gloves.
The mouthfeel is oily, viscous and honestly just lovely. It reminds us of smoked kippers, it’s very salty, oily, and has loads of maritime flavours. The alcohol is nicely balanced, giving warmth but allowing the other flavours to shine through. Going back we’re getting some sugar coated herbs, gentle peat smoke and rubber going into a long finish.
Nose (with water)
We’re getting a nuttiness now, roasted peanuts, some dry earth, and more of that rubber glove smell. There’s a note of chlorine straight out of a swimming pool, along with fresh lemon squeezed over a fish supper.
Palate (with water)
It’s lighter now, with more sugar coming out but it’s still very drinkable. The combination of sweet and smoke is balanced nicely, but it’s lost a little of the complexity it had before dilution. There’s some artificial lemon juice, vanilla and a slight yeastiness on the finish, of course backed up with a little light smoke.
It’s a complex, interesting dram that we really enjoyed. It’s worth noting it’s not a sherry bomb and if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll be disappointed. We also found less peat than expected, but with the age that’s understandable. Even still this still has a nice smokey backbone to it. Water brings out more sugar but it loses some of its interesting characteristics. £190 is expensive but we think it’s worth it.
- 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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