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Springbank 21 yo (2020, OB for Tara Shop, 46,2%)

You all know how rare Springbank’s single casks are: the Campbeltown distillery hasn’t sold barrels to private customers and independent bottlers for a long time, and the fact that it has become a cult object among many enthusiasts means that the few casks still in circulation end up being sold at almost inaccessible prices. We are therefore very happy to have in front of us a private single cask ex-Sherry, bottled for the Tara Shop in Munich – thank you very much to Randy for providing us with a sample!

N: the profile is very persuasive, and we start with a really enjoyable fruity scenario: dehydrated apricots, orange (red orange above all, perhaps), plum, peach skin. Fresh rhubarb, then dusty notes; hints of old playing cards, someone says. A shy Campbeltown soul slowly makes its way out, with a little brine (the only suggestion vaguely reminiscent of sea and the coast) and seed oil. A distant sulphurous note. A little bit of ‘soffritto’, cooked vegetables; and a little bit of brown sugar.

P: non-explosive, very soft and silky, not so fat. Rather consistent with the nose, even if the sulphury component becomes more evident: sulphur, extinguished matches, candles. There is also an interesting hint of cooked and sweetened tomato sauce, which combines the suggestions of sweetness and acidity that pervade the palate. There is also a honeyed sweetness of caramel and sugar, and peach jam…

F: not very long, tomato, salt and pepper, celery (in short, a bloody mary); an autumnal sense of damp fallen leaves, something of undergrowth.

Springbank confirms its untamed nature and its always unique profile, even if here the most typical notes of its atypicality of the spirit are apparently missing (ok, yes, we know, it was a little bit brainiac, we understand each other though, don’t we?): few coastal notes, little mineral peat, little oiliness. And yet there are full umami notes, from seasoned tomato sauce to slightly sulphurous notes that give a stimulating and satisfying experience for those who face it: with Springbank we are never bored, that’s for sure. It has its own share of intellectuality, this whisky, but it definitely deserves the time you dedicate to it: 88/100. Side note, it used to cost 250€, when it came on the market (it sold out in a few days, of course): for an ex-Sherry single cask Springbank, well, it had a really honest price. Bravo Randy, bravo Tara!

Recommended soundtrack: Mick Jenkins – Smoking Song.

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