...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Springbank 10 year old 1995 The Alchemist

How about a review from one of my open bottles rather than another sample? Okay then.

I bought this bottle blindly, not just because it was highly recommended by a chap whose opinion I respect, but because it was an indie port cask Springbank for goodness sakes. At the time I thought I'd overpaid ($100) for it, but port cask OB Springbanks are now going for thrice its price.

I'm not sure what happened to The Alchemist, but the bottler released a number of pretty decent whiskies 8-12 years ago. This particular bottling was not a single cask, rather a small batch mix of first-fill ex-bourbon casks and first-fill port casks. The whisky didn't do much for me when I first opened it. But then, gradually, it improved. My review comes from about mid-bottle.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Independent Bottler: The Alchemist
Age: 10 years (December 1995 - April 2006)
Maturation: vatting of first-fill ex-bourbon casks and first-fill ex-port casks
Alcohol by Volume: 46%

Its color is very dark gold with reddish highlights. The nose leads with dingy dirty extra-mossy peat. It's slightly tarry with some raspberries, black grapes and grapefruit. Peat in the center, wine around the edges. The palate is industrial and dirty. A little hot, a little sweet. A nice tart note merges with the peat. Grape jam, dark chocolate and lime candy. Its finish is the least peaty part. More fruit and sweets. There's a little bit of earth and tar. A peppery heat. Good length to it.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The peat goes herbal in the nose, though it does still have some mossy character to it. Dark chocolate and fruit (grapefruit, limes and raisins). Now there's less peat in the palate, and more port. Lots of black licorice. Grapes and limes. That good tartness remains, then sticks around through the finish. No more peat. Mostly black licorice, grape jam and limes.

As mentioned above, this whisky really grew on me. At the start it was mostly porty with very little Campbeltown showing through. But here at the middle of the bottle, the peat shines in the nose. The palate is messier but still a very good drink. Water mellows it out and sweetens it up. I like it quite a bit and will enjoy the rest of the bottle, but $100 was much too high of a price, especially since the 10yo OB now shines at $60.

Availability - Happy hunting!
Pricing - $100+
Rating - 86