We stay connected with the Facebook group “It’s all about Springbank” and after yesterday’s sensational 27 year old we move on to an earlier bottling, which spent 21 years in an ex refill Sherry hogshead. 150 bottles were produced and we must say that here, on the label, the graphic arts have made great strides. The colour is a very rich straw yellow.
N: if we usually think by fruit colours, here we reason by shellfish: the 27 yo was a plateau of oysters and lemon, this is a plateau of mussels, darker and sweeter, less extreme. There’s more peat on the nose, distinct beach bonfires with fish barbecues, with grease and juices dripping onto the embers. And while we are telling you this, we check our altimeter to make sure we haven’t gone beyond the stratosphere of sensory delirium. Again that minerality of Aspirin and chalk (in crescendo), but here a sweet part emerges much more (jam and orange liqueur). There is also a vinous sherry sensation, maybe Fino or Manzanilla – in any case a wine with yeast flor. Laurel liqueur, some say even Genepy and we can’t argue with that. It becomes very green-orangey…
P: the first impact is made of sweet, processed fruit, including quince, orange marmalade and something of a tarte tatin with slightly ‘acid’ apples. In fact, alongside the sweetness there’s a sort of a darting acidity. The aspect that we adore in Springbanks, the coastal aspect, takes a step back here, but continues to stir: sweet black olives, a touch of iodine, a humid accent. We are paralysed by this image: caramelised orange with black olives on top. Gradually it becomes saltier and the sweet part gives way. Like the 27 yo, the peat emerges in the long run, a little burnt. The body is thick, oily.
F: black olives, ash and low tide, caramelised orange peel again.
Here we are at 90/100. The nose is fantastic, kaleidoscopic, a continuous back-and-forth game between sea and fruit, sweetness and peat. The palate – while still moving – has a microscopic flaw: it is like when you mount a Fontana painting on a baroque frame, in a perfect context you add an element (the sherry cask) that does not spoil anything, but shifts the focus. And the result is excellent, don’t think it isn’t, but not supernatural, if you know what we mean. PS. – while one of us was penning these immortal lines, the other couldn’t stop sniffing it. We had to call social services to detox him and save him from himself, like the meninos de rùa sniffing glue in the favelas.
Recommended soundtrack: Faith no more – Epic.