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Springbank 16 Year Old

Civilised spiced honey mead

0 694

@jdcookReview by @jdcook

4th Jul 2011

0

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    24
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    94

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Between passing a recent exam and a birthday a few days ago, my wife has spoiled me rotten with 4 new bottles - Sullivans Cove Double Cask (my review is here: connosr.com/reviews/sullivans-cove/… ), Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (my review here: connosr.com/reviews/ardbeg/… - but I will be putting another one up in the next few days), a special limited edition Lark bottling, called the 100 bottles and this, the Springbank 16 year old.

I have previously reviewed the Springbank 16 year-old cask strength bottling which I had a tasting of many moons ago (that review is here: connosr.com/reviews/springbank/… ), but this is the non-cask strength version, and one of the very last bottles remaining.

To quickly rehash the history, when the Lark Distillery first started up, they bought a barrel from Springbank, aged it 16 years and bottled it.

So on to the actual review...

Straight from the bottle the nose is bit less overwhelmingly spicy, but the spice is still a big part - lot's of clove, cracked pepper, cinnamon. However, along with the spice is a really thick honeyed mead - almost like someone has taken an excellent spiced honey mead and gently warmed it. It's really hearty, meaty, warming and rich. Powerful too - I can get whiffs of this from 3-4 feet away. It's the middle of winter here, and this nose is really welcome and seasonally perfect!

The taste is initially warm and spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, until the arrival of a wave of rich honeyed mead, and a smooth nuttiness that is intriguing and really balances the cinnamon, cloves and cardomom. With this balance a lot more nuances come out - hints of caramel and a real savoury oak note.

The finish is long and just short of hot. The spices are there, and slowly become more prominent, but the honey sweetness, plus the creamy nuttiness and oak keep it in check as it slowly fades over several minutes, and I mean several.

This is a real cracker of a dram. A real cracker, and shows what an independent bottling of a single cask can be at its best. The cask strength was a real knock your socks off and take no prisoners dram, whereas this is far more genteel, civilised, nuanced and complex, but still plenty muscular for all but the most crazed whisky adrenaline junkies. I can;t say I prefer it over the Cask Strength, but it stands on it's own two feet, and I'd probably drink it more often than the more powerful version!

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6 comments

@GregLogan
GregLogan commented

So how would you compare to the Springbank 18yr (which I am currently drinking)? I understand that there is an older and a new bottling of the Springbank 18yr - presumably the older excels - however, I like the nose and palate on this thought the finish is a bit sharper than I would expect from a $120 bottle of scotch...

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

This is an independent bottling of Springbank spirit by the Lark Distillery. It's a very unique dram. It's one of the most overwhelming whiskies I've come across with a huge flavour profile. It's one of the few whiskies I can have after the big Islay's, like the Ardbeg Supernova and still be able to make out the flavour profile.

So it's too different to offer a real comparison with any official bottlings.

8 years ago 0

@GregLogan
GregLogan commented

Thanks JD - how do you come across these kind of "custom" made, high quality bottles?

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

Some bars or bottle-shops which pride themselves on their whisk(e)y collection will try to get their hands on at least a handful of independent bottlings to round out their collections. Most are very good, some are brilliant and a few here and there are average. This just happened to be brilliant. Keep an eye out, as whisk(e)y is becoming more popular (which it appears to be world-wide), independent bottlings and small distilleries offerings will become more prevalent.

If you have somewhere with a decent stocked bar, or you buy from a bottle-shop with a half-decent collection, try chatting with the people who work there and see if they have any odd stock and try it. It will always be a bit hit and miss, but the hits are worth it.

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

Welcome back 'jdcook'!! It's good to see you back on Connosr. Don't be a stranger again! :)

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@Pudge72 - I never left, but between a new baby and another on the way (plus going to one income) my whisk(e)y travels have been much more mundane the past year or so...

8 years ago 0

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