The last Springbank I reviewed was from a bourbon cask—the 11 yo Local Barley—and I liked it a lot. Here now is another official Springbank from a bourbon cask but one that’s almost twice the age of the previous. This was bottled in 2014 from a refill bourbon cask for Dr. Jekyll’s, a whisky bar in Oslo. I got this sample in a bottle split. I’m not sure how the person who had the bottle laid his hands on it, though I assume it was at auction. Only 100 bottles were apparently released for general sale and disappeared in a matter of hours. I do not know what the price charged for it then was; I’m pretty sure it would have been much lower than the current going rate for cask strength Springbanks. The prices asked for recent independent Springbanks have been eye-watering indeed and official cask strength releases of a lower age in the US are no less aggressively priced these days. Anyway, let’s see what this is like.
Springbank 19, 1995 (58.8%; refill bourbon cask for Dr. Jekyll’s Bar; from a bottle split)
Nose: Starts off mild but begins to pick up steam quite quickly: sweet eucalyptus/pine; the usual sackcloth and salt and damp earth; coriander seed; lemon. There’s a sweet note behind it all as well—vanilla—and a bit of coal smoke. Very Springbank, in other words. With time that sweet note picks up a whiff of talcum powder. Sweeter and maltier with water with a milky cocoa note.
Palate: Ah, just lovely: sweet peat, damp earth, brine, sackcloth, lemon, crushed coriander seed, peppery olive oil—all in perfect harmony. Absolutely, completely drinkable at full strength (though that may not have been the case from a freshly opened bottle, I suppose). The peppery, oily note is more pronounced on the second sip. Less interesting with water as it gets a little indistinctly sweet; still peppery though.
Finish: Long. The sweet peat yields to the brine and the coal smoke comes back out to the top. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is quintessential bourbon cask Springbank. Reliably excellent whisky from the most reliable distillery in Scotland. Long may they distill. In case you couldn’t tell, I liked it a lot better neat (though I may have added too much water).
Rating: 89 points.