I am having a hell of a time getting over jet lag after getting back from India last Friday afternoon. I have not had the energy to sit down and resize pictures and write my next restaurant report. Therefore, here, a day early, is this week’s second whisky review.
This is also the second of this week’s reviews of a trio of hand-fills bottled at Springbank in October 2022 (I did not fill them myself; I acquired the samples from the person who did). You may recall that I reviewed the Hazelburn from the set yesterday, and that I liked it a lot. I found quite a bit of peat in that Hazelburn, as I had in the August iteration as well. Will this Springbank be likewise atypical? Or will it be more in line with the Springbank in the August set, which I liked a lot? Let’s see.
Springbank Hand-Filled, October 2022 (56.9%; from a bottle split)
Nose: A little muted to start and then it heads quickly in the direction of the Hazelburn: wet wool, almond oil, a bit of hot tarmac. Some sweeter notes emerge with a bit of time (berries? apple?) along with some lime and light coal smoke. A few drops of water push the coal back a bit and pull out some vanilla and some cereals.
Palate: Leads with the lime (which is laced with salt) with the coal smoke and sweeter fruit coming in behind. Very approachable at full strength with rich texture. The lime turns to preserved lime fast, picking up some bracing, bitter zest as it goes. Some peppery olive oil in there as well. The bitter note gets a slight bit soapy as it sits (i.e glycerin). Okay, let’s add water. It gets rid of the soap but doesn’t really pull out anything new.
Finish: Long. The lime crests and melds with the sweeter fruit which keeps going. The salt hang out as well and picks up cracked pepper at the end. Water emphasizes the lime here and knocks back the pepper.
Comments: This started out really well on the nose and palate with those austere notes and hints of sweeter fruit. I was thinking this would be an easy 90-pointer but the fruit didn’t quite emerge more fully with time/air or water and the bitter notes got a bit out of balance. Still a very good whisky—with water fixing the bitterness on the palate—and one I’d be very happy to have a full bottle of.
Rating: 87 points.