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This, launched in 2017, is the second of five annual "local barley" releases announced by Springbank in 2016. It comes after the first release, a 16-year old, that was brought to market in 2016. This second release was made with Bere barley from the Aros farm in Campbeltown and was entirely aged in ex-bourbon casks.
The nose starts on a very malty note, then develops notes of oranges and lemons, together with a touch of banana and followed by honey. There is also a distinctly salty note to this nose that, overall, I find to be surprisingly sweet and fruity. Lovely!
The palate is medium-bodied and spicy. The lemon flavours are back and share centre stage with notes of vanilla and liquorice. There is also a bit of mint and more of the saltiness that I had detected on the nose. An interesting panoply of flavours and very well balanced.
The finish is of medium length and spicy at first, then becomes sweet with orange flavours before turning minty and grassy. A hint of nuts rounds this one off.
I must admit that I do not have a lot of experience with Springbank, one of the distilleries that I urgently need to catch up on. Thus I was not sure what to expect with this bottling, and the fact that I had missed last year's 16-year old release did not help either. But this worked for me. I am fond of "malty" whiskies that combine sweet and salty flavours, just like this one, and in addition this was excellently balanced. From what I have heard this is not your typical Springbank. Be that as it may, I would get another bottle anytime.