...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Springbank 18 year old 1996 Fresh Oloroso Sherry, cask 313-5

The first two Springbanks this week were light on cask influence and light in color. This third one, well...

Today's whisky is also the oldest of the three, and the most sherried. It was also part of that wave of Springbank single casks that burst through the $200 price ceiling, right on up to the $300 marker. From 2010-2013, we Americans were used to seeing 12-15yo single cask Springers selling for $90-$120, and 17s @ $150. By the end of 2015 we saw 19s going for $280-$300.

Those whiskies didn't sell fast, in fact I saw almost a half dozen of them on a retailer's shelves last month. (No I didn't buy any, even though they're even more expensive on the secondary market.) Quality-wise, some that I've tried have been very good. Will this one be among that number?

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Springbank
Region: Campbeltown
Age: 18 years (November 1996 - March 2015)
Maturation: fresh oloroso sherry cask (a butt, probably)
Outturn: 528 bottles
Bottled for: Hanseatische Weinhandelsgesellschaft Bremen
Alcohol by Volume: 56.1%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? No
(from a bottle split)

Wow, this nose is huge. And yes, sulfurous, though more along appealing meaty lines (think Benrinnes/Craigellachie/Mortlach) than gunpowder. There are also dried apricots, lemon bars, dark chocolate and raspberry jam. It's also very peaty. Kristen said it smelled like the old Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. I thought she was going to say 'cabbage'. The palate is just as gregarious, but it's lighter on sulfur and heavier on smoke. There are dates, limes, chocolate jelly rings. Mangoes(!) and salt. Bitter herbs and spicy cigars. Dates and candied bacon in the finish, along with lime candy, bitter herbs and a moderate smoke level.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The simpler nose focuses on smoke, moss, sulfur, charred beef and raisins. The palate ditches some of the sweetness and smoke. More on ginger and bitter herbs. Cayenne pepper, dried cranberries and currants. Smoke, honey, dried currants and Tabasco sauce in the finish.

This was a monster compared to this week's other two Springbanks, an unhinged sherried terror that could stink up a room in seconds. I loved it. Gotta keep it neat to soak it all in. Is it a clean, flawless sherry cask? Nope. Does it result in an expansive, fulfilling sensory experience? Absolutely. Is it expensive? Yah.

Availability - ???
Pricing - probably around $300
Rating - 90