Let’s start the month with the closest thing there is to a sure thing in the world of Scotch whisky: a malt from the Springbank distillery. It’ll also kick off a week of reviews of official distillery releases.
This is the 2021 release of Springbank’s 10 yo, which is still their entry-level malt. The price has gone up quite a lot in just the last couple of years. I purchased two bottles in 2019 for $55 each; now the cheapest price I can see in the US appears to be about $85. Which is still a bargain compared to the prices asked for the now annual Local Barley releases, which have been of the same general age. I’ve liked all of those a lot and am curious to see how the regular 10 yo compares. The last of these that I reviewed was from the 2017 release (that was all the way back in 2018). I thought that was very good indeed and if this is as good I will be pleased. Let’s see.
Springbank 10, 2021 Release (46%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Classic Springbank mix of damp earth, prickly peat, paper, brine, cracked pepper and coriander seed. A bit of savoury gunpowder in there too. The citrus from the palate pops out here with time and it’s joined by some pastry crust and some cigarette ash. Water accentuates the paper and the pepper.
Palate: Comes in as predicted by the nose with some additional sweetness. Lovely texture and perfect drinking strength. On the second sip there’s citrus (lemon and dried orange peel) and a bit of apricot. Not much change with time but why would you want it to change? Okay, let’s add a drop or two of water. More pepper here too with water and a bit more of the prickly peat but otherwise much the same.
Finish: Long. The peat picks up here with some bitter char emerging to take the lead. The citrus pops out again at the end. More pepper here as well with water and the citrus at the end turns sweeter.
Comments: Just great. Who needs the Local Barley frenzy when this is available? Or is it available? Winesearcher doesn’t show any availability in Minnesota.
Rating: 90 points.