Continuing the CWS “tour” of Scotland, our next stop was Campbeltown. Once home to 30 distilleries now only 3 active distilleries remain: Glen Scotia, the newly founded Glengyle (Kilkerran), and Springbank.
Springbank do much to endear themselves. The distillery is still family owned and it is virtually a working museum. Quirky and wilfully resistant to change, they shun any modernising equipment that might increase production but compromise flavour. The idiosyncratic labour-intensive production methods help to sustain the local economy and, unlike most distilleries, they source most of their barley locally (at least 40% of it comes from within 7 miles of the distillery). They perform every step in the whisky making process on-site, from malting the barley to bottling the spirit. As far as I know the only other Scottish distillery to operate this way is Kilchoman, on Islay.
“Green” was released in 2014 and is made from naturally grown organic barley and aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.
70cl / 46% abv
Nose: Fresh, aromatic, with coastal and earthy undertones. Maybe a little more peat than usual. Also white peaches, citrus and freshly cut green apple. Sweet vanilla cake. Soft pepper. Hints of wet stones. Not too austere though, it’s rather creamy and easy to like. Apple, window putty, acrylic, sugar, almond croissant, sweet grain and barley sugar. Lots of soft pastry, sugar mice and icing sugar, but balanced and structured. Everything a fresh, bourbon cask Scotch should be, and pure Springbank.
Palate: Starts bright, fruity and citrusy, then some creamy barley and vanilla biscuits. Apricots and peaches. Honey. Sweet, sharp, wooded arrival then a long, sweet delivery with toasted cereal, fresh musky sulphur, splints and sugar puffs. Nutty shortbread. Becomes oilier and ashier. On to some grapefruit zest, walnuts and youngish cereal notes. Hints of peat as well as pepper. Just a slight bitter tang. Nice and chewy.
Finish: Medium long, with grainy notes, a lemon and liquorice. Smooth and complex with a lingering sweetness and saltiness. Slightly sulphured, quite light and refreshing, and then a tail of oily, pure toffee Springbank
A winner. Not sure if it’s great value at £60, as there are more luxurious whiskies out there at that price. It still tasted quite young. We identified just about everything in the tasting notes -Sugar Puffs! – although not so much of the peat.
Having said that, we’ve come across the regular Springbank 10 year old at tastings and sometimes it seems peatier than others : /