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Monday, September 10, 2018

Springbank 19 year old 1991-2011 Murray McDavid

I started some Springbank tastings last week, and I now I can't stop. So, how about three more this week? Yes? Good!

One bottle of Springbank Green 13yo was opened for the Kill Bottle event two weeks ago. Opening a bottle when trying to empty existing bottles makes a whole lot of sense. But from the first sip, I was reminded why I like Green 13yo so much. A week later, I set up a tasting of today's whisky, Wednesday's whisky and the Green 13yo. And it was good.

The oldest of the three was this 19 year old from Murray McDavid. Murray McDavid is probably best known for their "ACEing" (a branding(?) word for cask finishing), a practice of theirs that has produced some of the vilest whisky I've ever tried. This is one of their whiskies they — for whatever reason — chose to keep in one cask for its entire life.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Independent Bottler: Murray McDavid
Age: 19 years (1991 - 2011)
Maturation: refill sherry cask
Outturn: 559 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.1%
(from a purchased sample)

Its color is very pale. How many refills did this cask weather? The nose shows anise, lime zest and LOTS of butter. In fact the butter note overwhelms all else. There's the occasional dried fruit note and some flowers. After 30 minutes, there are oranges, pears, rye new make and wet cardboard. The palate is sweet, peppery and more pleasant than the nose. Vanilla, cinnamon and mild heat. It picks up some industrial notes and arugula later on. It finishes tart, peppery, grassy and less sweet than the palate.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1⅓tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose is farmier, more focused and without wet cardboard. Cinnamon hot candies and cinnamon coffee cake. Lemons and limes. The palate is puckeringly tart and peppery. Less sweet than before, with cinnamon, butter and acidic citrus. Butter in the finish as well. Lots of pepper and a generic tartness.

Well, that was a nearly dead cask. The whisky read less than half its age, except not as fun. Dilution improves the nose and seems to wake up the palate. The finish neither soars nor sucks.

This whisky seems like it would have been the perfect candidate for a MMcD cask finish. I don't know why this one escaped their ACEing claws (or clause?). Perhaps they were out of first fill garbage barrels that day.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 79 (dilution preferred)

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