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What's happening at Springank?

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By R @RikS on 17th Apr 2023, show post

Replies: page 2/2


@MRick the problem with "craft presentation" is that it has no real (enforceable/legal) meaning - all it will take is for a crafty marketing team to take up the challenge of crafting a label to "fit" what the geeks want to see. As much as I like Springbank, I have to admit that a large part of that love has to do with intangible factors. The whisky itself isn't really that much better (if at all) than the other hated distilleries bottling at 40%, chill filtered, and colored whiski...

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

MRick replied

@65glenfarclas Billy Walker certainly did well giving the geeks what they want to see.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

@65glenfarclas I disagree. If you compare something like Glenfiddich 12 to Springbank 12 (CS) it is as if comparing apples and oranges.

I tried Springbank before all the hype. As my palate matured I appreciated it more. The spirit is solid, and the cask management is too. It is not just hype. They make a high quality product.

about one month ago 6Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@65glenfarclas I tend to agree with @Nozinan. You can’t fake non-chill filtering, natural colour and decent ABV. I thought Springbank had something a notch up from the rest of the pack from the first time I tasted the 10. I was also able to enjoy several of their other offerings a decade or so ago. Sadly, those days are over and Springbank is now just a good memory. I have about half a bottle of 10 left. When that’s gone…..disappointed_relieved

about one month ago 5Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

@BlueNote when that’s gone… you’ll come visit me and we can open something good.

about one month ago 4Who liked this?


@BlueNote I admit I was being a bit facetious when I stated: "The whisky itself isn't really that much better (if at all) than the other hated distilleries bottling at 40%, chill filtered, and colored whiski". Of course, in most cases, 46% is better than 40%, NCF is better than chill filtered, and "natural" colour is better than E150a. However, the point stands, the whole "craft presentation" concept is fraught with marketing opportunism. - NFC doesn't have a legal enforceable definition. There are various levels of filtration (including lowering the temperature) distilleries can put the whiski through and still call it "non-chill filtered" - what does "natural" colour really mean? Can a distillery use a "wet" cask and still call the whiski "natural colour". How much liquid can be left in the staves and still consider the whiski "natural colour"?...

Yes, Springbank is better than many, but any honest diehard has to admit a significant amount of the recent SB love is over the top hype. Plenty of average releases are lifted by the SB halo of "craft presentation".

about one month ago 4Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@Nozinan I will come bearing gifts.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@65glenfarclas Now that I give it some more thought, I tend to agree with you on all your well stated points. As you say, there’s no shortage of hype and fake mystique in the whisky business.

I do think, though, that by not being part of a massive, international drinks conglomerate Springbank is able to create and present its products any way it wishes. I think perhaps a lot of the hype and mystique comes from retailers more so than the producer in the case of Springbank.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote replied

@Nock et all. I finally got around to doing the Springbank 10/Bruichladdich Islay Barley head to head. It took me some time to sip and think about each. For me they are similar to the extent that they are both the result of excellent cask selection and they are both quality whiskies from high integrity distilleries. The SB10 is quite a bit more subtle on the nose where the Laddie hits a little harder. That could be down to the 2 years difference in age. The taste is where I find a fairly distinct difference. There are similarities, again in that they are both quality whiskies. I’m not sure how to articulate it, but there is that je ne sais quois ingredient in the Springbank that is not there in the Laddie and the Laddie is somewhat sweeter than the SB. I don’t think in a blind tasting I would mistake one for the other. That said, I would happily drink either one, anytime. And a good supply of either one would be quite welcome to accompany me on my dessert island. These are just my impressions and I admit to being not very good at pinpointing flavour components.

In answer to the original question: Yes, I think Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2013 would make a good substitute for Springbank 10 with the added advantage of being more readily available and at least a bit cheaper.

30 days ago 6Who liked this?

Nock replied

@BlueNote I completely agree. Thanks for the reflective thoughts. I agree that the Laddy is obviously not a Campbeltown whisky. However, there is enough there that the lover of Springbank might well be satiated with a dram of Islay Barley Laddy in place of the ever increasingly hard to find Springbank 10yo. I just went by a local shop that has had Springbank 10yo at $95 on the shelf for some time . . . it was all gone today . . . even at that price. They still had plenty of Kilkerran 12yo at the same price. I didn't buy any today . . .

29 days ago 5Who liked this?

Timp replied

Prime example of retailer mark up today.

Went for a nice day out in Bristol which is a great city by the way, and walked past a wine shop and had a quick look through the window not expecting to see much whisky but there they were. Two bottles of Springbank 10!! Haven’t seen any in a shop for a while so had to check them out. £96 each!!! Not surprised they hadn’t sold and suffice to say I left empty handed, muttering darkly..

I know shops are in it for profit and they have to get what they can but it’s sad to see.. For £70 I might have been tempted and I don’t mind supporting bottle shops by paying a bit more than I know I can get it on line or at auction, but when they are taking the piss like that I have no time for them or their business. Didn’t bother looking at their wine either..

Good day otherwise though smiley

17 days ago 6Who liked this?

fiddich1980 replied

No comment but, it has a creamy mouth feel, and a cheddar funk. laughing

7 days ago 8Who liked this?

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Wierdo replied

@65glenfarclas I'd agree with your points about the hype around Springbank. It's become (and I hate the phrase) a hype beast. Like the yeezys of the whisky world. It's a fine whisky. But part of it's appeal to enthusiasts previously has been the batch variation. They'd release a cracker and then the next release wouldn't be as good. Now it's become popular every release is apparently amazing rolling_eyes

Take the recent release of the Pedro Ximenez matured cask strength 10. Now I can tell you without even trying the whisky that a PX cask isn't the best vessel to mature Springbank in. Sure the spirit is strong enough to stand up to just about any cask. But you stick it in a sickly sweet PX cask for any significant length of time and you'll miss out on some of the more subtle Springbank notes like the 'campbletown funk'. RRP on the PX10 was £95. It vanished on release and is now going for £800 on the secondary market. Lots of reviewers who are new to the scene, who I've never heard of before are giving it 8 and 9 out of 10. Because they know that if you give Springbank a high score you'll get lots of traffic to your page. But a few reviewers who've been around a bit longer gave it lower scores saying it's decent but the cask nullifies it a bit.

On 'craft presentation' I've often wondered if it's not just necessarily NCF and natural colour making the difference. Obviously bottling at 46%+ will always add to a whisky because a little more abv is a benefit. But can we really always tell if a whisky has a bit of colour added? I think sometimes yes. But not always. But I would say that distilleries who go for craft presentation are trying to get enthusiasts like us to buy their product. There's a lot less of us. But we're prepared to pay a bit more for a good product. I think if a producer goes down that route they'll be looking at other things to improve the product not just NCF, natural colour and a higher ABV. Once they start focusing on making money primarily through the quality of their product rather than the quantity. They'll probably focus a bit more on other methods that improve the quality of the whisky as well. Maybe using slightly lower yield barley strains that are more flavoursome. Not distilling too fast. Sourcing decent casks etc. And if you're not putting your whisky into tired, but cheap third fill casks you don't need to contemplate adding colour because the cask will be able to colour the whisky.

3 days ago 6Who liked this?

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