Campbeltown Malts Festival 2019: Springbank Open Day

Springbank Open Day tasting flight.jpegWe are lucky enough to procure last minute tickets for the 1pm Springbank Open Day tasting held in warehouse #4. Due to the lack of bottle photos, random photos of saxophones and the like shall follow.

As is customary, it’s pairs of Hazelburn, Springbank and Longrow in that order.


[Springbank] Hazelburn 2004/2019 14yo Ob. [9900 bts] 49.3% WB87.74[111]

Hazelburn is currently made only two weeks of the year though [we are told], Springbank intend to double Hazelburn’s production from 2 weeks to 4. Like buses, you wait for what seems like 50 weeks and then two come along at once! [blog] Unaware of the repeat, let’s see how an hour has effected my palate.

Hazelburn 2004:2019 14yo [Ob.] Oloroso cask matured [9900 bts] 49.3%

  • N: Add a little water and you’ve got an oak-led yet balanced dram. Oloroso-y-ish and fatty with aniseed and > Demerara sugars. Also a touch butyric but in a good way.
  • T: Tasty & subtle oloroso, fats and oils present, moist breads too. Again, the oak leads but there is certainly a marriage.
  • F: A desirable soft-smoky huskiness is revealed after a modestly short finish.
  • C: Soft and tasty. Thoroughly recommended.

Scores 86 points


[Springbank] Hazelburn 21yo [2019] Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample 56%

Is this also a repeat the Hazelburn Breakfast’s #2? One abv percentage point difference would suggest not.

Hazelburn 21yo [2019] Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample #1998-49 55%
[Representative photo]
  • N: This is a wholly different prospect in comparison to the 14yo. Here we have notes of beer, cider and pear drops.
  • T: Not sure if we are talking refill or not. On the nose I’d say yes. On the palate it’s more like first-fill. Watch the water. Just enough really wakes this up, a soft/aged-resinous bourbon-born whisky emerges.
  • F: Mannochmore vibes, but creamier & less astringent.
  • C: A degree or two better than that previous 21yo bourbon cask sample.

Scores 85 points [tops].


Springbank 15yo [2019] Ob. 46% WB87.34[279] WF88

Springbank, we are told, bottle the 15yo four times a year. The only Springbank 15yo’s I’ve had previously were a fabulous old Green Thistle [89] and a private Fonseca cask [Blog88]. Hardly comparable.

Back to the 15yo. 100% sherry cask maturation, the ppm figure [maybe] around 12-15. I reckon 60/40 refill/first-fill.

Springbank 15yo [2019] Ob. 46%.jpg
WB photo
  • N: Solid beginnings, more time needed as per usual. A soft sherried barley pong is all I noted.
  • T: An unusual narrow/acute juicy arrival, strangely soft as if it’s been overly diluted or has spent 20 years in glass already. The story here however has not yet unravelled. If slightly thin/uneasy on the palate, it begins oozing through into the finish.
  • F: And it goes on and on, oozing deliciously natural ppm’ed barley essence in an old skool way – as if it’s thought about breaking apart in the bottle already, but clearly hasn’t. How does it stay so dry without losing juiciness? I’m guessing that’s the sherry for you.
  • C: Not sure I’ve ever tried anything so juicy and yet so ppm barley-dry. The most delicious ppm vibes too, really present without simply turning to peat smoke. Ideal whisky, and cheap as chips for under £60.

With scoring ranging from 90 to 87, and feeling rather high-spirited, I’ll plump for 89 points.


Springbank saxophone

Springbank 2011/2019 8yo Ob. Open Day 2019 [1100 bts] 56.8% WB87.77[28]

  • C: Sherry in your face! Quality cask[s] however, not too dry. In fact not that dry at all. The finish reveals some interesting lurking details, but you’d need to be a keen and quick treasure hunter. Going for £65 on the day.

Scores 86 points


[Springbank] Longrow 2004/2019 15yo Ob. Open Day 2019 [911 bts] 52.4% WB89.71[19]

Matured utilising fresh rum casks.

Longrow 2005 13yo Springbank Open Day 58.7%
  • N: A lager & beer-like funk with subtle phenols.
  • T: Again, subtle phenols though still very much there and mouth-wateringly distillate-coated. Whilst still holding on to its precociousness, water promotes the lusciousness.
  • F: I like this balance alongside the dirty complexity.
  • C: Truly delicious, and there is  even consensus! Yet another cracking Festival Longrow.

Scores 88 points.


Longrow 2007:2019 11yo Ob. Society Bottling [2250 bts] 56.9%.jpg

[Springbank] Longrow 2007/2019 11yo Ob. Society Bottling [2250 bts] 56.9% WB88.51[45]

From recharged refill sherry butts.

  • C: Solid/decent whisky with a natural funk, subtle yet full-on/strong ppm and a sprinkle of festival magic to top it off.

Scores 87 points.


An excellent session that one. With thanks again to the Springbank team.

Finally, a shout out to Singlemaltmoments – “Real-life monkeys on tour”! Hope to see you guys again next year.







Springbank open day tickets

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