Springbank Local Barley 13yo (2024 Release)


We've got the 2024 release of Local Barley up for review today.. need we say more?

Springbank Local Barley 13yo (2024 Release)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 54.1%

Price: £105.00

This year’s release was crafted using Belgravia barley from Glencraigs Farm, distilled in June 2010. The spirit underwent maturation in a mix of ex-Sherry (40%) and ex-Bourbon (60%) casks, before its bottling in December 2023 at the age of 13 years. A total of 8,400 bottles were made available.

Nose

On the nose we’re met with a real creaminess, like silky vanilla custard with a sprinkling of sea salt, alongside sponge fingers, freshly grated lemon zest, pear skin and a faint smoke reminiscent of a gently smouldering beachside bonfire. Going back and we’re finding some baked apple with a slighly underdone crumble topping, dunnage warehouse must and some almond marzipan in the background. The alcohol feels well integrated, with only a mellow pepperiness appearing. It’s very bourbon-forward, we’re not getting much of the sherry influence at all, especially for the 40% cask makeup advertised.

Palate

The palate opens with zingy lemon sherbet, moving into light menthol, mint dusted in caster sugar, slightly stale Victoria sponge cake and a gentle spritz, like appletiser. There’s a creamy, oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue and cheeks, with some dark chocolate and light coffee notes coming through as the palate develops. As it moves into the finish, we’re finding some pink Himalayan salt crystals and nutmeg appearing.. the finish does linger on for quite a while too. Time and air brings forward some orange pith, pineapple and fizzy cola bottles, perhaps a little blackcurrant too on the latter palate. The alcohol feels a bit hotter here, although it still maintains a reasonable balance with the cask and spirit.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out a lot of dust, old wardrobes, carpenters workshop, old oak barrels and a little engine oil too. It’s definitely drier, and some of those sweeter, sugarier aromas have faded into the background. There’s a touch more citrus now, like a sour mix you’d find in a cocktail bar. The smoke has also mellowed somewhat too, leaving a little more dry oak in its place.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate maintains a creamy mouthfeel, slightly less intense but it’s still there. We’re getting whipped cream, custard and sugar coated doughnuts upfront, moving into warm oak spice and a bit of salted caramel on the latter palate. Like the reduced nose, most of the smoke has faded, along with some of that spice from the alcohol. Still very bourbon cask-driven, with not much sherry influence appearing for us.

Conclusion

We’re surprised at the lack of sherry aromas and flavours in this Local Barley release, however we’re thoroughly enjoying the more bourbon-forward experience that we’re getting. This is really quite delicious, good mouthfeel, good finish and enough going on to keep us interested and going back for another sip. It’s a touch hot on the palate, but we’re nitpicking. The dram can take a drop or two of water, but we don’t think it needs it. We’re giving this an 8, but we’re pretty close to an 8.5 if we’re being honest.

Score: 8/10

Value

Yes, it’s a little pricey for a 13yo, but Belgravia barley is a pain to work with, and as such it’s not surprising you’re paying a premium.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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