In a continuation of our recent Campbeltown reviews, we're looking at the much sought after Springbank 10yo Local Barley 2022, hoping to find out whether its worth all the hype surrounding it. We've also got a bonus cage bottle review!
Springbank Local Barley (2022) - 10 Year Old
If you’re unaware the Local Barley is an annual release made from barley grown in or around Campbeltown. Each year a local farmer is commissioned to grow barley on Springbank’s behalf to continue producing this ‘grain to glass’ tradition. This year’s release features barley from Glencraigs Farm, by Campbeltown. The barley variety used was belgravia, the spirit was matured for ten years in refill bourbon casks, and 15,000 bottles were released.
Initially we’re getting very light smoke along with some vanilla ice cream / double cream. A little air brings out fruit, and we’re getting some raisins, cranberry, and ginger. If we dig deep we also get some cinnamon, melted butter, and cheerios. Interestingly not a great deal of funk here and we wouldn’t have initially pegged this as a Springbank.
Palate opens with some orange, ginger, white sugar, and caramel notes. The finish has warm black pepper spice with the ginger lingering for a a good length. It’s nice, with a good mouthfeel, but there’s still a fair alcohol bite we weren’t expecting given this is only 51.6%
Nose (with water)
Water brings out the Campbeltown funk that was initially missing. One of us described it like a musty unventilated classroom. The smoke has receded slightly and now the ginger, and cinnamon notes are more prominent. Finally we’re also getting a touch of orange peel in the background.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate loses some of the sweet fruity notes, and like the nose the Campbeltown funk is much more noticeable. It's making us think we’re chewing on musty damp cloth taken straight from the dryer, which still has a touch of oil on it. Good long salty finish on this with water having tempered the alcohol bite.
Yes, it’s good, and we wished we managed to get a whole bottle. If you were faster than us and have a bottle we highly recommend you crack it and enjoy with friends. Now if you were unable to lay your hands on one we don’t recommend you fork out the secondary market prices, both because we don’t want to encourage that, but also because while it’s good it’s still only a 10yo whisky.
Springbank 13 Year Old Fresh Sherry Butt Cage Bottle Cask #567
Red berries, a little ash, some sea salt and dark chocolate sitting in the background. Incredible balance here, with all elements working in harmony. Going back to it we’re getting rich cherries in syrup, chocolate cake (or maybe brownies? Yep, definitely brownies), and slightly burnt bacon. There’s more smoke here than we expected, but that’s in no way a bad thing. The alcohol is very restrained, we’re not getting anywhere near the 53% on the nose, although we do notice a little chilli pepper in the background and maybe some wet cardboard.
We’re getting salty pork crackling, dark chocolate mousse, rum and raisin ice cream and a little black pepper. Woah. This finish is… still going. The mouthfeel is really really nice, the alcohol is there but it’s so well balanced with the fruit and smoke. Going back to it we’re getting a lot more sweet peat, rich cocoa and salted caramel. Each time we take a sip we’re getting more and more of that smoke, but it gives way quickly to the sherry cask influence, with lots of sultanas, toffee and macerated blackberries in brown sugar. Even after we think the finish has dissipated and we’ve had a sip of water, we’re still getting a little bit of smoke and ash sticking around.
Nose (with water)
And now we’re getting that famous Campbeltown funk, more of that oily, costal notes, it’s almost like sitting in a car garage. We’re getting some salty cold sea air alongside some wet forest floor aromas. There’s also a spirit forward note that’s appeared, not overpowering but a little off putting for us. A lot of the richer chocolate notes have really receded into the background, but we’re still getting some dried fruits if we look hard enough.
Palate (with water)
Diesel, barley sugars, olive oil, and lots and lots of smoke. There’s a nice red currant jam spread on a smoked bacon sandwich, maybe a little honey too. We’re getting some more charred oak flavours with water, alongside a herbal minty-ness. The finish is still incredibly long, although a little drier than before. The alcohol is still very well integrated with the spirit and cask.
It’s rich, it’s intense, it’s full bodied and it’s delicious. We know that people have been going crazy over Springbank recently and with whisky like this, it’s totally understandable. Our only critique is maybe some of the initial heavy smoke overpowers the more delicate sherry flavours, but even then that may suit some peoples palates. For us we prefer it without water, but for some the more oily aromas and flavours may be preferable. For 13 years old it’s really, really good and we wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a bottle if we had the chance.
- 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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