We 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
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.
- 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  Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample 56%
Is this also a repeat the Hazelburn Breakfast’s #2? One abv percentage point difference would suggest not.
- 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, 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  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.
- 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 2011/2019 8yo Ob. Open Day 2019 [1100 bts] 56.8% WB87.77
- 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 £75 on the day.
Scores 86 points
[Springbank] Longrow 2004/2019 15yo Ob. Open Day 2019 [911 bts] 52.4% WB89.71
Matured utilising fresh rum casks.
- 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.
[Springbank] Longrow 2007/2019 11yo Ob. Society Bottling [2250 bts] 56.9% WB88.51
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.