It’s easy to get carried away at warehouse tastings, especially after such a breakfast [WLP]:
Now in the belly of one of Springbank’s warehouses,…
,… we get to sample one of each type of whisky that Springbank Distillers make, straight from the cask. Four casks, a Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, and Kilkerran are laid on double yellow lines to indicate they are all ‘FINE’ [see photos below].
I keep small samples back so I can complement my observations further, away from the theatre.
[Springbank] Hazelburn 21yo  Un-Ob. Ex-Bourbon cask sample 47.?%
After that fabulous Hazelburn Breakfast [WLP], there’s yet more Hazelburn 21!
- N: Uber fruity on ripe peaches and mandarins, quince jelly raisins, rose petals, sweet biscuit hessian,… As good a Hazelburn as you might wish to find.
- T: From a clean [= no cask-residual peat nor smoke] hogshead, the delivery a little fizzy and salty-sharp, the unravel rather simple – profile-wise – in comparison to the nose.
- F: Those two decades have gone a long way to consolidating this one though both spirit and cask remain somewhat independent.
- C: Whisky doesn’t get any fresher than straight out of the cask. Great start!
Scores 89 points
Springbank 2012/2022 Un-Ob. bourbon cask #196 sample abv unknown
- N: Delicious lemon [drizzle]/orange oil,… sweet > farmy,..
- T: Bourbon-y again and with more orange oil, this one has plenty of kick. Adding water brings out a naturally focused malt.
- F: Sustains, that’s for sure. A tad butyric by the tail.
- C: Direct, robust, uncompromising = quality hip flask/outdoor gear.
Scores 88 points
[Glengyle] Kilkerran 2006/2022 Un-Ob. refill cask #200 sample 57.5%
- N: Boozy with a fine selection of savoury~sweet phenolic joys.
- T: I often prefer Glengyle’s more subtlely complex phenols to Longrow’s more broad if layered strokes. Having said that, this particular example isn’t that subtle nor complex. Water promotes a squidgy “marshmallow” [Julie] mouthfeel.
- F: The [ex-bourbon] cask, and not simply previous contents, gets a thumbs up.
- C: Very decent if a tad simplistic in part. On the other hand, it’s uber-fresh and direct-to-source/flawless in that respect. Reminds me of those early Octomore experiments though this one is far more honed/tuned. Not every whisky has to reinvent the wheel.
Scores 87 points
[Springbank] Longrow 10yo Un-Ob. ex-tawny port cask sample 57.9%
Currently enjoying a 3-year tawny port finish, whisky from casks like these go on to make up the Longrow Red.
- N: Fruit-sweet bourbon-y vibes with saltiness and all sorts of phenol qualities.
- T: On the palate, all manner of grape-derived delights – prunes in the main,… some chocolate too.
- F: Moreish conclusion.
- C: Pleasing the majority, the nose I regarded most highly.
Score 87 points
It’s time to get out into the courtyard, collect some festival bottles and enjoy the Springbank bar and its jaw-dropping menu.
Staying with the smoky theme, I plumb for two more Longrow’s – numbers #51 and #52, sauternes and sherry respectfully – and a single sherry cask Kilkerran #72. All fine drops at a staggering price of just £5 [£1.75 per pour], surely making this the cheapest whisky bar in the world. Springbank Distillers sure know how to put on a festival. One year, I shall forgo all tastings and spend the day here. I shaln’t be the first!
The shadows begin to lengthen as the [long] day turns to early evening. One more for the road then.
Springbank 2007/2022 14yo Ob. Cage Bottling sauternes cask Warehouse #5 Rotation #15/175-1 56.6% WB89.25
After securing a bottle in the morning, it’s time to try! My initial impressions are:
- C: If you like ex-sauternes matured whisky, you won’t be disappointed. Expect some inflated scores for what is, simply, great jobbing Springbank. Always a treat.
Scores 86 points