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Springbank 21 yo ‘The First Editions’ (1995/2016, Edition Spirits, 49,9%)

Last Saturday we were at Milan Whisky Day, and thanks to Andrea and Giuseppe we had the pleasure of working behind one of the stands and holding a limping seminar about Campbeltown’s history. And from Campbeltown comes today’s whisky: it is a single cask from Springbank, 21 years old, selected by Edition Spirits for the First Edition series. We thank Fabio Ermoli for the sample, and dive straight into the tasting.

6187-8931springbank1995-201621yearoldthefirsteditions

N: we wouldn’t have noticed the 50% ABV if it wasn’t for the great compactness. In the foreground, we find all the reasons why Springbank is unique: you can breathe the coast, the marine side and the mineral one, with suggestions of oysters and seaweed drying on the beach. There’s also a light wax that mingles with a truly fabulous note of salt and sea. There is peat, that kind of spicy and peppery peat, with a drizzle of smoke (it’s like passing next to the kiln, but without going inside). Then there is a very warm and rich fruit: even the citrus-y notes are sugary (juicy mandarin, but also orange jam, and citrus peel). Lastly, we find honey and corn flakes. All the components listed so far continue to change, sometimes with more emphasis on peat, sometimes on salt and sea, sometimes on the fruit … Excellent.

P: splendid; compact and chewable, with great intensity. The impact is austere, or rather on wax first (loads of wax indeed!). Then we find light peat smoke, pepper, sea water (but not salt itself), oysters, and oyster leaf, for snobs who know it. Then comes the sweetness, fruity and sugary: juicy citrus again, then honey, a veil of pastry cream. Fruit pastry comes to mind (specially the citrus one), but without the shortcrust pastry base. Each sip is different. After another little while, comes the cereal, in purity (or rather: some sort of pudding or corn flakes …).

F: long and persistent, continuously changing: cereals, smoke, sea, fruit (sometimes tropical, coconut?) wax, citrus fruits … Splendid, the mineral and coastal smoke lasts forever.

92/100, enormous drinkability and great complexity. It is not explosive, but all the typical notes of the distillery are present in numerous nuances, without slapping but gently caressing you. Twenty-one years in the barrel however haven’t smoothed Springbank’s mineral and coastal roughnesses. Inside the glass, the powerful minerality chases the sweetness like Murray and Smith chase each other in the solo of Hallowed be thy name by Iron Maiden (… crappy simile, we know).

Recommended soundtrack: Iron Maiden – Hallowed be thy name.

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