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Those who enjoy Springbank tend to love just about everything they release, but the 15 year offering is not without its detractors. Rumours abound about batches that are irredeemably sulphured. Frightening stuff. I admit to being Springbank devotee so I didn't mind taking a chance on this whisky (I bought two bottles completely blind). It's matured exclusively in ex-sherry casks, unlike the 12 Year Old Cask Strength and 10 Year Old which use a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. As with all core bottlings from Springbank, the 15 Year Old is presented at 46% abv, natural colour, and unchill-filtered. More distilleries need to follow suit. Well done, Springbank.
- Nose (undiluted): blackberry jam, dark fruits (dates, figs), a touch of brine, toffee, almonds, and something that took me awhile to identify...wool. Yes, wet wool. It's really interesting. Don't be put off! There was a hint of sulphur (spent match) when I first opened the bottle which worried me, but after a few weeks the spent match note completely dissapeared. Huzzah !
- Palate (undiluted): rich, oily, warming, mixed berry (dare I say...huckleberry?) jam...but not overly sweet, some damp hay flavours, a little salted caramel, mild peat smoke, more almonds, and a somewhat chalky mineral note. It's quite pleasant, I promise.
- Finish: medium length, drying but without any residual bitterness, oak spices, dark cocoa powder, icing sugar, vanilla, more blackberries, a little earthy peat, a bit of salted caramel lingers
I have not yet brought myself to add water to this whisky. I know I should, for science, but I haven't and I likely won't.
This whisky is incredibly complex. There are different flavours popping up every time I revisit it. This is most definitely NOT a background whisky. It's one that demands your attention. It's also a whisky that won't please everyone. And that's ok. Springbank is unapologetic whisky. It's different than anything else on the market these days, which is rare. While Springbank's 12 Year Cask Strength remains my favourite Campbeltown offering, their 15 Year Old is proving to be a very moreish whisky for me. Many people don't like this. One fairly well-known whisky reviewer recently gave this a 3/10 mark. I think Springbank 15 is absolutely delightful. I recommend you try this one before you buy it.