And, well, after two years and a half of hard work and huge hangovers, we reached 300 whisky reviews: since we’re handsome and good, we don’t need to celebrate further, but it’s the perfect occasion for a special tasting, just to snuggle up. Is there anything better than a Springbank 21 yo bottled in 1985? It’s the “dumpy” bottle with the written “Archibald Mitchell” on the label. We opened it during the Tasting Facile in October. The colour is an intense ruby.
N: it’s suddenly recognizable a perfect sherry monster profile: cherries under spirits, pipe tobacco, the deepest red berries, dark chocolate, burnt tarte tatin, orange marmalade during cooking, dried plums, sultanas… It becomes gradually sweeter, with cooked apples and pears, dried figues, hazelnuts. Even if there would “only” be these notes, we could already describe it as a dream whisky. But the real ace in the hole (that this 21 years old boy plays at the very first hand) is a whole set of “dirty” suggestions that drives us mad: old books, library, walnut, wax… A strange idea peeps in our minds: the church! A sense of humidity, incense and dried flowers. Top of the top of the top.
P: neither the most blasphemous man could eat a church… but those terrific silky impressions, between the bitter and the “dirty”, the ancient and the stale, are present in the palate, too. Walnuts liqueur, old pipe tobacco, liquorice and bitter herbs like rhubarb and gentian. Hey, don’t think about an unbalanced taste! Indeed, it’s never woody nor astringent. Furthermore, there’s plenty of malty notes, and again all the sherried impressions: tarte tatin, orange marmelade, chocolate, red berries…
F: herbs and oak, with hints of chocolate and creme caramel. Astonishing, infinit. Standing ovation.
In 1572 Torquato Tasso returned from a trip in France and he wrote in a letter that he used to prefer wines with “a certaing thing, that bites and flatters the palate and the tongue […] My taste is not perfect, but I love sweet and prickly wines, especially when these qualities come together”. Probably Tasso would love this Springbank: because it’s sweet and “raspante” (the 16th Century Italian word used for prickly dessert wines), but meanwhile it’s also quite unhortodox, with notes amplified by 30 years spent in the bottle, so that it really “bites and flatters” both palate and nose. And it flutters around for hours, even when the glass is empty: you could smell it forever… One of the best whiskies we’ve ever had: 95/100. It’s a good way to celebrate our 300 reviews, isn’t it?
Recommended soundtrack: Bob Dylan – Thunder on the Mountain.