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Springbank 1965 ‘Flowers’ (1990, Samaroli, 46%)

At the end of October, this blog turned 4: we still remember when we were rookies, trying to not get lost in the whisky world and we started the first blog of single malt reviews in Italian… Ok, let’s not waste time and self-commemorative words, but let’s celebrate our birthday with a sample we jealously kept in the closet for a special occasion: it’s a 1965 Springbank, selected and bottled in 1990 by Samaroli for the “Flowers” series. You know that saying “Springbank” and “Samaroli” in the same sentence is like taking off for whisky heaven. We must thank Glen Maur from the historical whisky club Gluglu for the sample of this unoptainable malt (only 480 bottles, put on the market 25 years ago).

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N: an extraordinary consistency – suddenly detectable – tells us that the nose will be challenging, constantly evolving. It will be hard to split this malt’s souls, analyzing them with tasting notes. Anyway, we start saying the nose is definetely opened and the alcohol almost absent. Then, we enter in a fruit valley: juicy peaches, apples, raisins and stewed plums. Even a bit of overripe bloody orange, giving a sense of mineral depth. It’s clearly recognizable the powerful Springbank malt, carrying its “dirty”, mineral and waxy notes: a hint of meat and broth, extinguished candle, wax. Something floral, too, like cut flowers in a pot. We can’t avoid mentioning a pastry sweetness, made of toffee, shortbread, a lot of plumcake and even something reminding of tarte tatin and carrot cake. And the magic of that 21 yo “Archibald Mitchell” is partially repeated, thanks to an old school malty screen, even if in a general context of greater freshness.

P: its austere elegance is simply incredible. The first sip is all about wax and slightly smoky mineral note, like old paper. The floral nuance increases until it evolves in a thundering explosion of fruit. It’s again mixed fruit, both fresh and stewed (apples, plums and peaches). Apricot jam. A bit of eucalyptus sidelined. And if we’re not mistaken, even a hint of saltiness. Obviously there are again pastries, shortbreads and plumcake. And the trip ends in a mix of slightly peaty notes…

F: …which in the finish are now mineral and clear, guiding – together with a delicate waxiness – the stunning notes of stewed and yellow fruit (apricot). And again, maybe due to the label, an enchanting floral note.

It’s not a surprise if these bottles made history and are now on sale at outrageous price. We’re facing a magnificent example of balance and complexity, with flowers, fruit, smoke, wax, salt, broth, pastries… Everything perfectly melted together, with a very modern freshness. Springbank is once again one of the few distilleries capable of preserving its own personality through years. This Samaroli selection enhances its mythological quality: 94/100. Thanks again to Glen Maur for the present.

Recommended soundtrack: R.E.M. – So. Central Rain.

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