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Friday, July 7, 2023

Spirit of Freedom 30 year old blended whisky

Commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn (wherein Robert the Bruce kicked the English directly in the spotted dick), Spirit of Freedom 30 year old was one of Frank McHardy-sensei's final creations for Springbank Distillers. And I, for one, am terribly disappointed that he DIDN'T USE 700 YEAR OLD WHISKY. Whaaaaaaaat a cop out.

Spirit of Freedom arrived at UK retailers at a sensational price in 2014, and was probably the last 30 year old scotch in history to have an SRP of £75. Yes, I should have gotten a bottle while I could have, when seemingly every retailer on the planet shipped to the US, but I did not. And it took almost a decade to source a sample. Let's see how it holds up next to Wednesday's 5 year old.

(pic source)

Brand: Spirit of Freedom
Bottler: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Type: blended whisky
Age: minimum 30 years
Contents: 75% malt / 25% grain
Maturation: bourbon and sherry casks
Bottled: 2014
Outturn: 2014 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


The nose begins with a note of dough+apple+brine that's a direct line to the 5yo blended malt, then it improves from there. Dunnage, black walnuts, and date rolls. Burlap, oats, and honey.

Ooooooh, passionfruit and white nectarines start the palate, followed by dates, dunnage, and guava. It has a mild sweetness and good bitterness, but a watery mouthfeel.

It finishes with a flawless balance of tart and sweet. Grapefruits and dates. Some nice bitterness as well.


Sorry to disappoint everyone, but this is not 30 year old Springbank, instead its malt is from five distilleries "around Scotland". If there was Springbank present, it would have to be at least 35 years old due to the distillery's mothballed status between 1979 and 1987. And if you think there's 35+ year old Springbank in a $100 bottling, then you are PERFECT for the current whisky marketplace.

More to the point, this is delicious whisky. It's too fragile and thinly textured to be A-grade, for which the grain whisky and some underproof malt (35yo Springbank?!?!?) may be to blame. But it's still a casual delight. So fire up that time machine, folks, and pick up some bottles in 2014.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - £75 or €110 upon release
Rating - 88

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