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It seems fitting to write about my favorite reasonably priced whisky for REVIEW 100 ON WHISKY CONNOSR!
That's right, this review is Number One Hundred! It's hard to believe I've written that many reviews for this fine website's review database.
Then again, I harbor a strong passion for scotch whisky, and I rarely find myself short on words (or opinions) . . . so perhaps it's not so surprising that I've broken through the barrier of double digits, pushing onward into realm of Triumph Triples.
Recently, I posted a video on Youtube of a Springbank 10 Year review at Bar Bar (Mississippi Studios) in Portland, Oregon.
Here it is: www.youtube.com/watch
SPRINGBANK 10 YEAR, TASTING NOTES Appearance: Au naturel, no artificial coloring or fake caramel added. NOT CHILL FILTERED. Lovely rich gold hue, not unlike the look of the air in late summer if one find's oneself in northern latitudes when the sun's angles of incidence must past through more and more atmosphere (and, often, more pollution).
Smell: Pine resin, sea salted caramel, old dry sawdust, industrial creosote, slightly phenolic (although not as much as a few years ago), ocean mist, slightly waxy.
Taste: Pleasantly viscous on the tongue, toffee, cardamom (hints almost of ginger), hardwood smoke, and a lovely balance of phenols cradling the sweeter notes on the palate.
Delivery: A gentle embrace of alcohol stimulates the sides, back, and front of the tongue, but not the middle. Mingled in the mix there comes a really slight waxy-lemony note that hangs back and adds definition, tempering the sweetness with just the right amount of faint bitterness to keep it from becoming too cloying and sickly.
Finish: Toffee, delightfully sensuous peat, slight hint of lemon zest, burning oak, burning dried moss, persimmon, wet clay, cracked pepper corns, allspice.
Affect: This particular dram gently lures one into a very comfortable "buzz." I know some would disagree, but I do feel that different whiskies (and types of alcohol) "feel" different in the system. My predominantly Northern European constitution purrs happily on a few drams of Springbank 10.
Condition/age of exposed whisky: there were two fingers left in the bottle, so it was quite oxygenated, to be sure. Bar Bar most likely does not sell a great deal of Springbank because it is a brand of scotch that is not well known (and under appreciated) in Portland, Oregon, USA--a city which, incidentally, drinks a great deal of Ardbeg scotches of all sorts. Yes, Portlanders are not "whisky heathen" by any stretch, but they are woefully ignorant of The Power and the Glory that is Springbank! Then again, in all fairness, the crowd at Bar Bar is fairly young to understand good whisky beyond a few simply recognizable brand names and monikers.
A WORD ON BOTTLING CODES Lately, I've discovered that year/day info on bottling can be seen relatively easily on the Springbanks. It's hand stamped on the back of the front label. Peer through the bottle to see the date stamp. The bottle that I have just reviewed was stamped as follows: "12 / 142." This means it was bottled on the 142nd day of 2012.
HISTORICAL REFERENCE So, how does a mid-2012 bottling compare with earlier bottlings of the Springbank 10, particularly circa 2009?
Well, the bottle I tasted has a bit less "wet wool" and a bit less of what one might call "farmy" characteristics. Still, an amazing bargain in most stores, and a really fine ten year. I sincerely hope that Springbank distillery keeps up the tradition of making a quality ten year offering.
Just to attest to how fanatical I have become, yesterday, I drove all over Portland (visiting six liquor stores over two hour's time) to locate a 2012 bottling. My persistence paid off: I was able to find two bottles that were bottled on the precise day and year as the one that I tasted at Bar Bar on Mississippi Ave. Persistence sometimes does pay off! Thank you, 2012 / 142!!!!
ANY REGRETS? I, for one, feel a pang of regret that I was not able to taste the legendary Springbank 10 Year 100 Proof bottled circa 2010 at 57% (Hint, hint, anyone out there care to send me a sample?). I am told that this particular bottle closely paralleled the Broras/Clynelishes back in the day that weren't aged much beyond 10-15 years but radiated "barnyardy bravado." Hang on, I'm getting teary-eyed. Okay, I'm fine now.
Thank you for reading my 100th Review on Whisky Connosr! To the Living Waters that we love! Cheers!
And if you caught my allusion to the old Graham Greene novel in the title of this review, pour yourself a dram of Springbank 10. Well done!