Springbank 11, 1999

Springbank 11, Recharred Sherry Butt
I started the week with a review of a 20 yo Craigellachie which I pronounced to be very Springbank. Here now is a Springbank that is also likely to be very Springbank.

This is an 11 yo from a recharred sherry butt; it was bottle for the Springbank society—I am not a member; I got part of a bottle split from someone who probably purchased it in Europe. This was distilled from local prisma barley. I believe this was from the same set of casks that were aged a few years more for this year’s release of the Springbank 16, Local Barley. I have a bottle of that one that I haven’t yet opened but it has received very strong reviews. Odds are good then that this one will also be excellent. Truth be told the standard issue Springbank 12 CS is usually very good too, as were the old 12 year old sherry wood variations (see here for the oloroso cask from 1996)—I’ll be interested to see if the local barley introduces any discernibly different qualities. 

Springbank 11, 1999 (57.9%; recharred sherry butt; from a bottle split)

Nose: Dried orange peel, gunpowder, leather, brine: basically, it’s good, young sherried Springbank. Quite hot and as it goes there’s a wood stain’ish sort of bite. With time the sweet pipe tobacco from the palate starts showing up here too. Water mellows it out, emphasizing the sweeter notes (tobacco, light caramel, orange peel).

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose at first and pretty much in that order; the only difference is that it’s sweeter (brown sugar, sweeter orange peel, a bit of pipe tobacco) and there’s a touch of wood smoke. There’s no sharp sulphur here and, despite the recharring, no vanilla from the oak; not much oak at all, in fact, and the wood stain note doesn’t find an echo here. There is a bit of a bite though and I expect it’ll open up further with some more time and water. Well, water doesn’t really push the bite back all the way here but it makes the citrus brighter and pulls out some apricot as well.

Finish: Long. As indicated by the palate, getting more peppery as it goes. Hints of coffee grounds at the end (not that I’ve eaten coffee grounds). As on the palate with water.

Comments: As I said, this is just good, solid, sherried Springbank of its age. If you’ve had any of the old 12 yo single sherried casks that were released in the US, this is very much in line with those. I can’t say I noticed any qualitative difference from the barley variety being different.

Rating: 88 points.

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