Springbank is one of my favourite distilleries, and, as I have noted before, they put out a lot of iterations of their malt. This particular bottling’s unusual name refers not to underwear worn by dwarves in Middle Earth but to particularly small casks
in which the malt is placed for a brief second maturation after longer maturation in, I believe, ex-bourbon casks in which this malt is matured for 10 years. It’s a very successful experiment, I think, though I am less sure about the blinged out bottle (see below for full blinding effect). I hope they will be making this whisky a regular offering.
This was distilled in November 2001 and bottled in January 2012.
Springbank, “Rundlets & Kilderkins” (49.4%, 10yo; from my own bottle)
Nose: Briny, gunpowdery–very close to the Longrow 14 in some ways. Whiffs of peat and a slight butyric note. With time, touches of milk chocolate, pine and the classic Springbank note that I characterize as leatheriness. The butyric note disappears quite quickly. And after a while the brine and gunpowder are gone too, leaving the chocolaty/malty notes to dominate. Hints of creme brulee too now. Oh wait, the brine’s back now and it’s saltier than before: briny chocolate? chocolate with sea-salt?
Palate: Sweet, malty, earthy. Some farmy peat, touches of smoke/gunpowder, and more of that musty leather. Just how do they get their malt to taste like this? A little bit of chicory too. Not as much happening on the palate as on the nose, but what there is is very good. Hugely drinkable without water.
Finish: Sweetness leading to brine. The piney/menthol notes from the nose appear on the finish, and there’s just a touch of woodspice too.
Comments: More young whisky should taste this good–though, I guess, with the rush to NAS whisky in the industry, a 10 yo is now positively middle-aged. The nose sees the most development. I did not add water tonight, and it is possible that water unlocks more on the palate (I can’t remember if I added water or what it did the last few times I tried this–what can I say, I have two small children). The smaller barrels seem to have, predictably, imparted greater sweetness than is usual with Springbank, but that they have not imparted any overly woody or tannic notes is testimony to the great skill of the blenders at Springbank.
Rating: 88 points.