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Friday, December 23, 2016

Single Malt Report: Springbank 18 year old 1996 Hunter Laing "Old & Rare" for K&L Wine Merchants

In late 2015, K&L Wine Merchants brought in a pair of big guns (er, casks) from Hunter Laing's "Old & Rare" series, a 29 year old Longmorn and an 18 year old Springbank sherry hogshead. Both bottlings had $300+ price tags and their own polished wood caskets. Though neither zipped off the shelves, K&L did give the Longmorn a hell of a price cut to get it moving. But they did not reduce the Springbank's price. Both eventually sold out, which means we won't see an end to this sort of pricing any time soon.

Both of these whiskies were featured at an LA Scotch Club event I co-hosted in April 2016. The Springbank was the bigger hit of the two, in fact I believe it was the favorite of all four of the women attendees. I reviewed the Longmorn in June, finding its nose AWESOME and the rest much less awesome. That one was from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. This Springbank is from a sherry hogshead, and has more oomph to the ABV. I really don't know what to expect here.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Owner: Springbank Distillers Ltd.
Region: Campbeltown, on Well Close, just off of Longrow
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Range: Old & Rare
Age: 18 years (October 1996 - July 2015)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Bottle count: 200
Alcohol by Volume: 56.7%
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants

Its color is a very dark brown with a slight red tone. The nose has an immediate lovely combination of fresh herbs, seaside and iodine. Followed by an immense fudgy note. Like actual chocolate fudge. Some dark cherries in there. After 20 minutes, a boat fuel note starts rumbling underneath. The palate is dark, rich and hardy. Baking chocolate, black coffee and chili oil. Brine and an intense earthy note. It finishes with old basement, menthol and green peppercorns. It's smoky, earthy and dry with the palate's chili oil note lingering on and on and on.

Sweet Mother of Maybelline, this was tremendous. I forgot to add water, but I'd rather have it neat where it's hypnotic on the nose and unrelenting on the palate. This was definitely one of the best K&L exclusive casks I've ever tried. A shame about the price, though.

Availability - sold out
Pricing - $299.99
Rating - 91

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