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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Springbank 1997 Vintage, batch 1

This relaxing tasting included Monday's 19yo 1991, the organic Green 13yo and today's whisky, the 1997 Vintage. Springbank released two batches of this "vintage", the first in 2007, the second in 2008. Batch 2 was from regular sherry casks, while the first batch was from re-charred sherry butts.

Back in 2014, whisky man Florin picked up a bottle of this stuff in Germany at a price of $84, and split it up. In the four years since, it's one of the very few Springbanks that haven't become outrageously expensive on the secondary market. Though one can find it at European shops for $200+, it's gone for ~$100 at auctions this year.

I bought 1/3rd of the bottle four years ago, and saved the last two ounces for a Taste Off such as this.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Age: 9-10 years (1997 to June 2007)
Maturation: Recharred Sherry Butts
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 55.2%abv
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No
(from a bottle split)

The nose has some decent complexity for a whisky of its age. White peaches, roses, cocoa, plastic toys and moss up front. It gets both smokier and more floral with time, while developing a sugary citrus note. The palate feels bigger and more complex than the 1991. Orange sorbet, mild smoke and lots of oak spice. It has a savory and salty angle, tangy limes, cinnamon and burlap. Its finish is long and spicy with tangy limes and peppercorns.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¼tsp per 30mL whisky
The nose shifts and expands, releasing notes of cherries, plum wine, dark chocolate and sugary peat. There are also smaller notes of roses and ocean air. The palate balances a grassy herbal side with a dried fruit and carob side. It gets sweeter with time. The finish is sweeter than the neat version, and warmer. Notes of anise, peat and roses.

The opposite of Monday's Springbank, this one is mostly cask, especially when neat. Still, the casks are good, reading more re-toasted than re-charred. There's more complexity when it's neat, but I enjoyed it more at 46%abv. Overall, it makes the Monday's '91 seem kinda crappy in comparison.

BUT, the Green 13yo won fair and square. And the current official 10 year old is both more complex and a better drink than this one. So I'd recommend both of those whiskies over batch one of the 1997 Vintage.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - $100-$225
Rating - 86