Yet another sample (3/5) most kindly sent from @Wierdo.
I must confess that when I opened the little package this was the one that got me really excited. It's the fourth release of the Local Barley series and 'was made using optic barley from High Cattadale Farm, with the spirit matured in 80% bourbon casks and 20% sherry casks' (MoM). Well, that sounds lovely!
Nose - It's a cliche with Springbank but the nose is just instantly high class. Complex - this could take a while . . . fruity, musty, peaty (moderate), slightly nutty and notes of golden, mildly hopped English ale. (I can't help thinking this would make a great accompaniment to a Ploughman's lunch!). More? OK. Satsumas and nectarines, and there's a distinct chalky minerality as well as an old tool box note. Soft spices (sweet and spicy, vanilla being prominent) and herbal (bouquet garni). Phew, and I've not even added water . . . Clean as a whistle and so so fresh.
Taste - Neat is like drinking ale concentrate, pleasant and with no overt heat - in fact it's soft for the abv - but I think this needs some water here. Oh that's miles better - creamy and yet with some bitterness but it's all in check. Now that malt has changed to a honeyed ale flavour and the peatyness comes into focus as it develops along with some salty, coastal touches.
Finish - More oranges (and pith so some more bitterness) and a deep, rich sweet ale flavour that lingers for a good while.
With water I find the nose is more mineral heavy and the peat emerges more along with more orange and tropical fruits. I prefer the nose neat, I think, but that ale note, that I really like, is still quite prominent.
Well, if there's a better craft malt out there then please, somebody, show me where! That this is 9 years old and 57.7% is quite unbelievable. The chalky side is unusual and does give this a slight dry edge, but I love a strong ale note in a whisky and this has the most changing and complex one that I've come across. What a treat!
I'll have to conclude by saying how much I appreciate being able to try this. Considering my recent thoughts on flipping, I don't doubt this bottle could have been sat on (like I'm sure many are) and made a tidy wee profit. So it's with a grateful bow of my head and a raise of my glass that I show my respects to you, kind Sir!