This is another of Springbank’s double matured wine cask releases, albeit for their Longrow line of peated malts.I’m usually a little wary of red wine finished whiskies but, as is usually the case at Springbank, this is closer to a double matured whisky: it was distilled in 1997 and spent eleven years in refill bourbon casks and then a further three years in fresh Burgundy casks. That and the fact that Springbank’s distillate is by its nature robust emboldened me to purchase it after release. I opened this bottle quite some time ago for one of my local group’s tastings and my notes say I liked aspects of it but found it a bit clouded by sulphurous notes. Since then it’s sort of got lost in a corner of my whisky lair and despite having planned to review it a long time ago (hence the picture taken in a different season) I’ve never actually gotten around to it. Well, here I am now and I hope those sulphurous notes have abated a bit, as sometimes happens.
I’m not a member of the Single Malt Whisky Society. I can never quite convince myself that the membership price and cost of annual renewal is worth it—especially in the U.S where the society does not have tasting rooms where members can sample the whiskies before purchasing them. And while they put out a very broad range of whiskies it’s not as though the prices are reasonable either. Even rather young whiskies cost >$100 at the SMWS—though the prices do get more reasonable as the whiskies get older. You might say that this is true in general for independent bottlers but the floor at the SMWS is higher. And given how few reviews ever seem to emerge of these whiskies it’s not clear if the quality justifies the high prices. And, of course, you’ll find people in the UK lamenting a decline of quality control at the SMWS there, and others who’ll say that the US does not get the pick of the casks (which is not unlikely given our less mature market (compared to the UK and Europe). Continue reading
Here is the review of the Springbank 12, Claret Wood that was promised to Ol’ Jas long ago. I hope he’s happy.
This is from a long deceased bottle (the 4 ounce sample was saved when the bottle was above the halfway mark). This is from a series of “wood expressions” Springbank released in the late 2000s. Others in the series included whiskies from Madeira, Gaja Barolo and Marsala casks as well as a series of 12 year olds from various types of sherry casks. Some of these were full-term matured in the relevant casks; others were matured for an initial, longer period in bourbon casks and then transferred to the cask on the label for a few more years. This Claret Wood was of the latter type, spending nine years first in bourbon and the last three in the wine casks.
This approach, which Springbank has continued with its more recent “exotic” cask releases (such as the calvados wood), seems closer to me to double maturation than to what usually gets described as “finished” whisky. Certainly, all of Springbank’s releases in this vein that I’ve tried have seemed to me to be very well integrated and far from “winesky”. That is my memory of this one as well but it’s been a while since I last tasted it. Continue reading