As promised (threatened in fact to be more accurate), my humble meandering thoughts over a dram of Springbank 10...
Le couleur -
Freshly cut hay, with a tint of… green!? A tone of gold, ripe wheat waving in the wind. Quite an unusual pantone, yet a lusterous sheen Ok, I was gonna write the whole review in rhyme… … but that’ll take to long. I rescind...
The nose is of freshly cut grass. Honeycomb, in fact beeswax? A whiff of sweet, but not sugary. Hard to pin, quite elusive. Peel of an oven-baked red apple… sweet yet with a sour tang. Maybe it's my lack of experience, but compared to other expressions that are more 'in your face' I really need to close my eyes and concentrate over 3-4 inhalations to be able to pick the nose of this one apart.
The palate. A certain sweetness hits first of all carried through from the nose, but it's not crunchy sugar, or plum, or cake or PX os something that's so easy (for me) to pinpoint. If anything, I'm thinking of air-light caster sugar thrown into the air. It's viscous… not to say oily and thick. Wow, I like this! It invites you to ‘chew’ on it for quite a while, which I'm more than happy to do with this palate. And still, at 46% there's no bite at all, it's just inviting and very round. I could eat this.
The Finish is subtle, yet somehow it lingers on… I think I can perceive a slight taste of metal and minerals, like sucking on a copper 2p coin (not recommended as a general way to pass time). After a while it seems to be transforming into a slightly waxy aftertaste. Hmm... I'm not sure I like that last element. After about 10min of setting down the glass I'm getting a second wave of finish, with wet chewing tobacco. Hey, that was unexpected!
With a drop of water, a clear citrus / fruity component appears in the nose. Maybe even some tangy sourness, like a pomelo. I think I like the nose even more with a drop of water in fact. It's fresh and inviting. On the palate, a drop of water brings out some more powder sugar sweetness on the attack, but it’s not overpowering (I e.g. don't take so well to the sugar-sweetness of Glendronach's younger expressions). The H2O also appears to give it some more alcoholic bite on the attack (which I suppose is rather counter intuitive...? Can lesser alcohol have more bite?). Having added water, I feel it accentuates the waxy element in the finish, almost gives it a drying characteristic… ok, that’s was not so nice. I think I'd like to have my nose and palate with water, but the finish without - thank you, please.
There’s quite a lot to get my head around in this one – I don’t know if one may call a 10 year old ‘complex’, but I have the impression that there's quite a bit to explore in here. Not least do I note that it keeps evolving and rolling on into different guises for quite a bit since a first sip. That's fun! Maybe it's a 'complexity' more reminiscent of a semi-intoxicated dialogue with a teenager full of complicated curiosities and ideas rather than a well traveled alderman of 21 or 30yrs, but who cares - it's still rather enjoyable and inviting.
I bow and politely thank you for encouraging me to get this one. It's a very well invested £41.95 I'd say!
@Hewie A very interesting read, thank you Hewie. And I guess I can be excused for not being entirely clear on where the 'saltiness' comes from.
Quote from the article: “We don’t find any maritime or salty notes in new make of Springbank, Longrow, Hazelburn or Kilkerran, yet after a few years in oak, in our warehouses, in Campbeltown, there it is. Everyone here knows that the Campbeltown micro-climate gives our whisky its salty tang. We even find differences between dunnage and racking warehouses. Of course we don’t have any science to back this up, just a few years of experience.”
Springbank 10yo is good, for my money kilkerran 12yo would be my go to entry level Campbeltown dram. I saw one review that described it as lemon smeared coal. Yep. Mmmmmm. And, when I’ve seen it, it was cheaper than the Springbank 10yo.