Springbank is one of my favorite distilleries. The combination of authenticity yet not being afraid to innovate is not easy to achieve, yet Springbank always manages to do just that. When this rumwood was initially announced I must admit I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it. I’m not opposed to using new casktypes and finishes (even though this is full-term maturation), but I just can’t recall a rum-influenced whisky that I really enjoyed. Lets take a look.
Nose: Quite a busy nose, but if you take your time with it, it’s layered very nicely. The first thing to jump out is unripe banana’s over a soft peat fire. Then there’s cotton candy, white grapes, green apple, peach, lemon zest and a slight molasses note. It doesn’t omit that typical Springbank funk though. All in all, it comes across very fresh.
Palate: A nice and smooth arrival. The peat is there but quickly makes way for banana, pineapple and coconut. There’s some salty crackers, lemon and lime and sweet and sour sauce. A prime example of near perfect balance between sweet, bitter, salty and sour.
Finish: Quite a drying, medium long finish with hints of woodspice, coffee, unripe banana again and some lychee.
This one is bustling with complexity. It’s not the easiest dram, but very rewarding if you take your time with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped this 1 or 2 points as I go through the bottle.
A 16 year old whisky from Campbeltown named Hazelgrove, it’s quite easy to deduce the distillery it comes from. It was finished in Pedro Ximénez casks for an unknown amount of time. It produced 176 bottles.
Colour: Amber with an orange shine
Nose: A very intense fruity sweetness, red grapes and cherry liqueur. At the same time however, there’s quite a pronounced industrial note. Diesel and rubber. There’s some minerallity too. Now, I love some springbank funk, but the industrial notes are a bit too dominant for me.
Palate: Dark chocolate, dark red fruits and waves of brown sugar. There’s a rubbery note but it’s more subdued than in the nose.
Finish: An almost sickly sweetness remains, the sugar clinging to the palate. The rubber also continues from the palate.
The funk here keeps it from being too sweet of a sherry bomb, but it’s a bit too dirty for me. I prefer the regular Hazelburn Oloroso Cask Matured.
Springbank has long been one of my favorite distilleries, making interesting yet engaging stuff. Hazelburn is sort of Springbank’s little brother, being unpeated and triple distilled. Following the previous year’s release of the Hazelburn 13, is the 2019 Hazelburn 14 year old from fresh ex-Oloroso sherry casks.
Nose: A very rich nose with clear Oloroso influence. Raisins and dried plums, some tobacco leaves and leather. Notes of furniture polish too. I’m getting a hint of sulphur but not overly so. Digging a bit deeper there’s cough syrup and ham. Hazelburn is supposed to be unpeated but I do get a whiff of smoke in there too.
Palate: Quite a fat and oily arrival. Dark chocolate, raisins, plums and brown sugar. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Springbank funk in here as well.
Finish: The brown sugar extends into the finish. It has quite an intense sweetness and lingers for a long time. I can’t seem to get rid of that smokey note, not that I mind.
A beautifully complex whisky, although not the most accessible to beginners.
This Springbank 12y was selected by Hans Offringa and bottled for the Dutch market. It’s made up of 6 bourbon casks which produced 1260 bottles. They are bottled at a cask strength of 57,3% ABV.
Color: Very pale gold.
Nose: Oh yes, this is lovely! Sweetness at first, mango and some other exotic fruits, which evolves into a confectionary note, hints of bubblegum. Then some roasted almond, citrus and vanilla, with just a tiny bit of ash.
Palate: The sweetness continues here, mango and unripe banana. Some pepper spice, probably because of the high ABV. Nuts again, quite briny, and a hint of peat. There’s also a musky note in there, which I find typical in Campbeltown whisky.
Finish: The sweetness is still there, accompanied by vanilla and honey. Some bitter oak to balance it out, medium long.
I haven’t had a lot of Springbank, but I’ve loved every single one, and this is no exception.
Being a part of Springbank, I always have high expectations of Longrow. The Red series in particular has garnered up quite a bit of interest over the years. This one matured in refill Bourbon casks for 6 years, and a further 5 years in Shiraz casks. It was bottled in 2013 at 53.7% ABV.
Color: Dark amber
Nose: Oh this is an interesting one. Both the Shiraz and Bourbon influence are fighting for your attention. A very sweet nose, both the red fruits from Shiraz and some honey/vanilla from the Bourbon. The peat comes through as well, leaving traces of fresh paint. Some pistachio and peppermint. While there’s a lot going on, it’s still quite delicate, ethereal.
Palate: It arrives with a think and oily mouthfeel. Sweet grapes, then lots of nuts, mainly walnuts and almonds. Raisins and bonfire smoke.
Finish: The nuts and raisins linger, leaving a mainly bitter finish. A touch of strawberry helps out and the peatsmoke is the most noticeable here.
This doesn’t disappoint. The marriage with the red wine casks seems to blend very well with Longrow spirit.
Another one from the Springbank distillery tonight! Hazelburn is it’s unpeated brother, which is distilled 3 times. This one matured in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in Sauternes wood. It’s been in casks for only 8 years.
Color: Mahogany, quite dark, looks promising!
Nose: Oh my, there’s a lot in here: strawberries and red fruit, blue grapes, some hazelnut. Going a bit deeper there’s plums, orange and chocolate with a cherry liqueur. Very interesting for it’s age!
Palate: Dark chocolate, raisins, tannins, some matchsticks in the distance.
Finish: The wine comes through very clearly here, a rounded sweetness that lasts for quite a while
Another loverly whisky by Springbank, the nose on this one is simply fantastic.