Springbank has been regarded as one of favourite distilleries among whisky lovers. I have a lot of whisky friends love to drink Springbank very much. However, it has not been my case sadly. Springbank has not been my cup of 'whisky' and perhaps I do not know how to appreciate the style.
I was added to one facebook group about Springbank and have seen so many whisky lovers around the world owning and praising a recent release. I was in a bar last night and saw that bottling, meanwhile my friend who works there also recommended that bottle to me. I was curious to have a dram and see if it would change my mind of Springbank.
According to the information from Springbank website, the bottle of Springbank 16 years old Local Barley is the first in a series of five expressions to be released over five years. The whisky was distilled from barley grown at Low Machrimore Farm in Southend, a few miles outside of Campbeltown. It has been bottled at 54.3% with only 9,000 bottles available globally. The whisky was matured in 80% ex-bourbon casks and 20% ex-sherry casks.
Speaking of local barley, I feel like a trend that more distilleries are starting to release some special versions with their local barley. Bruichladdich and Kilchoman are the most well-known ones with their local barleys. For Springbank, this is actually not the first time to have the local barley version. To trace some history records, there were several local barley releases from mid-90's to 2001 with vintages 1965 and 1966.
Springbank 1999/2016, 16yo Local Barley, 54.3%, limited edition, 9000 bottles
Appearance: M(-) gold
Aroma: First comes with pear, semi-ripe apple, unripe banana, lightly peated, savoury, a bit vegetal like cabbage, a hint of dry seaweed and iodine, white pepper. After 5 to 10mins, the aroma is more opened. A lot of fruit sweetness and spices can be found. The apple aroma is more ripened. Spiced apple, apple peel, a hint of cardamom and cumin. Very balance and integrated aroma, mild and comfortable.
Palate: Medium body, ripe apple, spiced apple, apple peel, vanilla, sponge cake, hint of floral and honey water. A mix of dry and sweet spices like white pepper, cardamom and a wee hint of cinnamon. There is also a hint of peat but not as obvious as in the nose.
Aftertaste: Medium to (+) length. Spiced apple, apple peel, honey water and a bit of savoury
Conclusion: It is quite smooth and balance for this Springbank. Really mild, smooth and comfortable to drink. A well integrated and complex whisky that gives out more characters and tastes/ aroma as time goes by. It is so far the best Springbank I ever tasted, even compare to new versions of 18 and 21yo. I do enjoy this dram very much and really look forward for next 4 releases. It looks like I have to join the club to grab the upcoming local barley bottles into my collection as I know that it is too late for me now to find any bottles at a reasonable price for this release. A superb dram, nothing to complain! -90points