After Monday’s rum cask finished bourbon (a Heaven Hill 14, 2001), which was more than a little reminiscent of a single malt, it was hard not to reach immediately for the one rum cask single malt I had easily at hand. Springbank has released a few official rum casks before but I haven’t seen too many around of late. This one is also from the German indie, Malts of Scotland but, unlike their Heaven Hill, appears to be matured full-term in a rum cask. Or at least, so I think. Let’s get right to it.
Springbank 1998-2014, Rum Cask (49.8%; Malts of Scotland cask 14037; from a purchased sample)
Nose: A slightly sweeter version of the regulation ex-bourbon Springbank profile. Which is to say that the usual machine oil, sackcloth, leather and salt/brine are all there but there’s an extra layer of simple syrup over it all. Gets pretty salty pretty fast; some preserved lemon as well. With water it’s less sweet and also less salty.
Palate: A little thin to start but it’s not as sweet as on the nose; all the Springbank stuff is here though. Spicier too with some white pepper and a bit of mustard. Gets sharper as it sits (salt crystals and leather) and there’s some peat too now (just a bit). Not much change with time—let’s see what water does. As on the nose it makes it less salty and better integrates everything, and there’s a hint of sweeter fruit too now.
Finish: Long. Mostly the pepper and mustard seed and the brine. Less sharp here too with water.
Comments: Unlike Monday’s Heaven Hill there are no surprises here. The rum influence on the distillate seems minor but, on the whole, it seems like a muted version of a bourbon cask Springbank, getting flatter and flatter as it goes. Springbank fans would find little to complain about here—it’s Springbank and it’s drinkable enough—but also nothing to get terribly excited about. Better with water.
Rating: 84 points.