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Springbank 18 yo (2016, OB, 46%)

We taste the third 18 yo whisky in a week. Let’s sail to Campbeltown and visit the main distillery of the region: Springbank. For this bottling, limited release of 7200 bottles (it’s not instantly clear, but every year there’s a different batch), were selected ex sherry casks (80%) and ex bourbon casks (20%). Interesting, but we learned that for Springbank what matters is the spirit…

N: the very first impression is a dip into the sea’s waves: the coastal temper is impressive, with whiffs of oysters and industrial harbour… Followed by an equally strong sulphury suggestion, halfway between overripe blood oranges and matches or gunpowder. There’s also a dense aroma of natural blackberry jam, introducing the fruity side. To be precise, also the strawberry jam is noticeable. A little bit of red apple (or is it tarte tatin?). The extra-complex nose closes with a darker note of leather, cacao beans and a delicate pipe smoke.

P: the landscape is similar, with some differences: it’s sweeter, equally coastal but without the seaside effect of the nose; the peat is more intense and the sulphury side appears only at a later stage. The first sip is dominated by the fruit (apples and tarte tatin again); there’s even a warm and mouth-filling vanilla and a comfortable malty note. Then it comes the sulphury Springbank’s trademark: salty licorice, orange peel, smoke from pipe or cigar, harsh sea-breeze.

F: intense and long. A pleasant sensation of wax sneaks between smoke and red fruits. Salty licorice again.

89/100, very good indeed. It shows complexity and structure, it’s intense and nuanced, a real classic. While you’re sipping it, you could easily think about coastal landscapes, twilight, friends, bonfires, struggles, loves… and yes, maybe we drank too much of this. A meditation dram that does not disdain an easier charm. Excellent.

Recommended soundtrack: Fever the Ghost – Source.

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