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Springbank 15 Year Old

Boy George: Bottled

10 886

@RianCReview by @RianC

6th Mar 2020


Springbank 15 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Well, well, well this one is quite the chameleon (hence the dubious title) and considering it's been open nigh on six months I feel it should have settled down and opened up by now, if it was ever going to. I hear that the sherry to bourbon casks may vary with the 15, with some suggesting this more recent bottle (c2018/19) is 100% sherry matured. That wouldn't surprise me either.

Review is neat and sat for, well, about fifteen minutes. Bottle is around two thirds full.

Nose - rubbery, twiggy and lightly smoked peat, sour barley sugars, mustyness, over ripe red berries and a little hint of saltiness all enveloped in big, creamy sherry notes. The sweeter notes sing loudest as they overlay a more smoky, herbal base; but there is this off-fruit sourness as well that I'm not 100% sure about here.

Taste - sweet and sour arrival with the barley sugars being up front and centre. Then the peat smoke unfurls and pricks at the tongue whilst the berry notes, a little more muted than on the nose, begin to show. Mouthfeel is thick and quite oily.

Finish - long. Some spices emerge with cardamom, cinnamon and a little clove. Some not unpleasant tannins add a touch of dryness and bitterness at the death.

Water rounds the sourness of the nose off a touch and heightens the creamy notes whilst further ramping up the peat and barley sugars on the palate. I prefer the taste with a drop or two of water but cant make my mind up about the nose. The finish is less tannic and more gingery - probably an improvement too.

So not what one would describe as an easy going malt but it's Springbank so not exactly unexpected. Its also not without a few awkward corners; that off-fruit funk is a little too heavy on the nose and throws it a wee bit out of balance for my tastes. That being said, when I get the water right in this, and when I'm in the mood for it, this can be a wonderful experience that has a bit of everything, and there's no doubting the spirit quality. The thing is though that it's not often I find myself reaching for it - It can be hard work. Too much sherry, perhaps? Good but not great etc etc.

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MadSingleMalt commented

I don't know how my experience would compare note-by-note, but that's my overall take on the 15 too.

Just too funky.

It's George Clinton, when all I can handle is Marky Mark.

4 years ago 5Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@MadSingleMalt, notes you gotta goo-ga, gotta goo-ga, Give Up the Funk. notes

This is @Nozinan's type of funk.....


4 years ago 4Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@MadSingleMalt I went through a huge P-Funk phase in college. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed this Springer more than @RianC

But I don’t necessarily disagree with his assessment here. This one grew on me, but I still like the 12 CS and the 10 more than this one.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@RianC You nailed it. There is something a wee bit fusty (fooshty) in there, as my Scottish gran would say. And I’m with @OdysseusUnbound, give me the 12 CS and the 10 and leave the 15 on the shelf. I do have a bottle approximately two thirds full that has been around for about 3 months and I think I’ll start with it tonight just to confirm (or not) my earlier impressions.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@BlueNote - Fooshty is a good way to describe it and a great Scottish word!

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

I've just finished my second bottle of Springbank 15. I absolutely loved the first bottle I had (I gave it 93 on here). I didn't like the second bottle anywhere near as much and would agree with your review in that it's clearly a good whisky but can be a bit too challenging. It's well known that Springbank chop and change the cask mix of their whiskies. Being a relatively smallish craft producer batch variation is almost part of their charm. But I have to say I definitely enjoyed the last bottle I had a lot more.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@RianC I might have to revise my opinion on the 15. I had a couple of drams last night and found myself enjoying it much more than my earlier experience. Maybe just that much more time open, but the moldy/funky taste seemed much less prevalent. The second dram had a few drops of water and that improved it even more. I don't know if I would risk another bottle as it is reportedly somewhat inconsistent, but I am now quite liking the bottle I have.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@BlueNote - That's good to hear! As I mention, when I'm in the mood this can be amazing. We did a little isolation home tasting recently and out of 7 drams inc, Irish, bourbon, rye and malts my partner picked this as her favourite, much to my surprise.

I normally love a little foosty funk in a whisky but this is maybe just too Parliament when Wild Cherry is all that's required (@MadSingleMalt) ...

4 years ago 2Who liked this?