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Springbank Blackadder Raw Cask 1995/2005

Comparison: official bottling vs BA

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@PandemoniumReview by @Pandemonium

21st Mar 2014


Springbank Blackadder Raw Cask 1995/2005
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Another week, another Blackadder Raw Cask, I really need to lay off these bottles, they are quite addictive. On today's menu, a young Springbank at cask strength, from 1995, bottled in 2005. I will compare it to an official 10yo bottling from 2010.

Colour: Blackadder: Pale gold,reminds me of the Macallan Gold, no colour was added, nice natural colouring distinctive of the American oak cask (however, it matured in a Sherry Pipe!). But by God,so much residu from the cask is left in this one. Springbank: Slightly darker, the range of colouring leans more towards red-brown (E150?)

Nose: Blackadder: Eucalyptus, hints of vix rub, walnut oil and genever seasoned in oak casks. (with water added): no genever, more like brandy now and lamb roast with rosemary, Springbank: Hints of salt, grain, smoked bacon, pine resin with a much more farmy quality to it

Mouth: Blackadder: Dried oranges, tea, a whiff of peat. (with water added): But also fruity (unlike the nose suggested): apples, grapefruits and quinces, vine flowers, and salty liquorice. Springbank: Hints of orange and lemon, pepper, tea, hints of salt and wood scrapings, much more peat added to the mix and some spices lingering in the background.

Finish: Blackadder: Long and warm, but surprisingly dry and bitter, salt breaks through, replacing the earlier sweetness. Springbank: Long and pleasant, with notes of fresh peat, slices of lemon and rough grind pepper (no saltiness here)

Conclusion: Not quite the same dram is it now? I think the official 10yo bottling is quite impressive actually, so young and vibrant, this is an entry-level malt that comes at a more than reasonable price and blows the competition from the same price-level completely away. But hey, we don’t expect anything less from the Springbank Distillery Now the Blackadder is something else, that both these drams come from the same distillery shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, they are obviously sisters. But the Blackadder developed quite a different nose and finish, I dare say that the bodies had a lot of elements in common, The menthol scents where something I hadn’t encountered yet, but proved to be essential for this tasty dram. Who won? The Blackadder, but the official bottling came in a close second. The main advantage of the official Springbank was that only did cost a fraction of the price I paid for the Blackadder.

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Nozinan commented

Interesting review but I have a couple of comments and questions.

The question of colouring...Springbank bottled in 2010 would not have had any added colour as far as I am aware. There are many things that can contribute to differences in colour. The OB likely is a mix of first fill and refill casks. Do we know if the Blackadder was from a refill or first fill cask? And does colour really have a bearing on flavour?

The other question is, what strength was the. OB? Most reviews I have read mention 46%. Is it really fair to compare a CS with 46%?

Just asking. It sounds like both are good, but very different...

10 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

Thanks for your reply: The colouring: yes, I'm wrong the Springbank 10yo does not have any E150 added, to improve the colour, my apologies to the distillers. The Blackadder has a more burnished pale golden colour, while the official bottling is more deep gold/amber.

The cask (the difference was probably made here): The Blackadder used a fresh amontillado pipe, so the contact with the wood was kept to a minimum. The Blackadder was also made from a single cask. The Springbank 10yo is a vatting of both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks (no idea which ones they used) in a ratio 60:40

Does colour have a bearing on flavour?: The colour itself not per se, but it can be a valid indication of the influence of the wood and the previous contents. The pale golden colour is not something that you would expect from a malt matured in a ex-sherry cask, but given that it was a pipe, the contact from the whisk with the wood was kept to a minimum. The official bottling most likely had much more contact with the wood. On a different note, the Blackadder is a raw cask, if they really did add the scrapings afterwards, it might have had its influence on the colour and the flavour.

Strength: the official bottling was only 46%

Is it fair to compare the official bottling to a CS/SC malt: I guess not. There is an official bottling at cask strength out there: the "10yo 100 proof", a malt with a strength of 57%. But these were matured solely in bourbon casks and unfortunately I do not own a bottle. This is no objective comparison. What both have in common: distillery, distillation process, ingredients, age and not-predominant sherry cask influence. What's different: different distillation year, influence from bourbon casks, cask type (not sure which one they used for the official bottling), strength (although I watered the Blackadder significantly down) and vatted vs. single cask.

It was never meant to be a competition between whiskies that are each other's equals. They are just two malts that have a lot of features in common and which are both in my possession.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it, it's good to reflect on the things I wrote in my review.

10 years ago 0

CanadianNinja commented

Great review! Very interesting indeed. I'm always interested to see how the IBs stack up against the OBs. Like you said, it's not a competition but it's very educational to see what the similarities and differences are.

10 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

Kudos to Padnemonium for laying out the similarities and differences between the two bottles he compared. I think side-by-side bottle comparisons are generally the way the go if you really want to get into a malt (or two!), but it's practically never the case that two bottles are 100% identical except for some difference that you get to explore. The comparison is still fun and worthwhile, but you gotta acknowledge the things that make one an apple and the other an orange.

9 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

Thanks, I've been working on a few more reviews like this, but as I'm transfering all from my old blog and this site, to a new website of my own. I've been quite busy. I'll make my return to connosr in a week or two

9 years ago 0

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