Another 15 yo whisky, and another that may still be available: I’m in severe danger of losing my “untimely reviews” edge. This was bottled by the distillery for the Nectar, a store in Belgium. It’s a single cask release (though the cask number is not mentioned) of a total of 198 bottles. And that single cask was a fresh rum cask. Now, of course, this doesn’t tell us anything about how many years the rum that had previously been in there had spent in that cask or what kind of rum it was (which, of course, is the same with bourbon cask maturation as well). I assume it would have been an American oak cask. I’m not sure what the story is with the low abv (relatively speaking). As it happens, the last rum cask Springbank I reviewed (this 1998-2014 release from Malts of Scotland) also had an abv below 50% (just a coincidence, I’m sure). I wasn’t hugely taken with that one. Let’s see what this one is like.
Springbank 15, 2000 Fresh Rum Cask (46.5%; for the Nectar; from my own bottle)
Nose: Musk melon, leather, brine, black pepper, something floral. With time it gets more acidic (lime) but there’s more musky fruit to go with it (pineapple, ripe banana). Sweeter still with a couple of drops of water
Palate: The typical Springbank complex (mustard seed, brine, sackcloth) with pepper and then some bitter oak as I swallow. Not much of the fruit here. The mouthfeel is just a bit too thin. With time some (lightly ashy) smoke begins to pop out as well and the whole gets peatier. Water washes it out and thins the mouthfeel further: only the pepper and the peat make an impression now.
Finish: Long. The pepper and the oak are the top notes here; gets pretty salty at the end. Less oaky with water and less salty too.
Comments: The rum notes are not dominant—I was expecting more bright fruit from a fresh rum cask—and are more palpable in the nose than on the palate and finish, where it’s mostly Springbank business as usual. Solid Springbank and very pleasant, but also nothing so very special. I’d hold the water.
Rating: 85 points.