Springbank is a unique distillery, in the Scottish panorama, because every phase of production takes place ‘at home’: we really enjoyed some expressions from the past, but – at least here on the website – we culpably neglected the most recent bottling. Let’s put a stop to this madness by tasting one of last month’s releases, a 12-year-old ‘Green’, limited edition of 9000 bottles. And why green, will anyone ask? Well, just look at the label, someone would say. No, my dear, it’s not enough: it also has the peculiarity of being produced with organic barley. So, we like it, and the planet likes it too, and so does Al Gore.
N: very coastal, edgy, mineral. In the foreground there is certainly malt, a rather unripe, vegetable and ‘sour’ barley: it reminds of certain visits to the distillery, with those intense notes of fermenting malt… Then there is the mineral and coastal side, precisely, with a sea breeze that enters your nostrils. The usual wet earth, but also wet wool and a thread of wax; the peat is there, but it is very delicate. There are not only edges, however, and especially after a few minutes there are delicious notes of barley, yes, but also fresh almonds and – instead – warmer almond paste (sometimes it seems almost creamy). Sometimes it even seems to smell a bit of smoke… But maybe it’s a mirage. Also floral notes, of fresh lemon; and that pepper, did we dream about it?
P: very good, with a nice body, but not too intense. It starts with a peaty note and a hint of ash to prop up a mineral triumph. However, the liveliness of the more vegetal side, with clear notes of fresh grass and dried herb infusions, is really impressive; maybe we can even find some rosemary! There is a slight sweetness, very much in the background, of almonds, and a sort of freshly sweetened lemonade… Perhaps something buttery, especially after a while; with toffee emersions too. More lemongrass, still a touch of wax.
F: that note of ash remains, immediately, together with an unusual mixture of unripe plum, almond, barley and wax. Citrus fruits (lemon). Clean and elegant.
Very good, a triumph of Springbank in its ultra-naked version. The malt, according to the choice to focus on barley even from the marketing point of view, is beautifully in the foreground; delicate and complex, with enchanting notes of lemon grass. Perhaps it has little grip on the palate, and also for this reason we will be on an excellent 87/100. Recommended.
Recommended soundtrack: The souljazz orchestra – Negus Negast.