Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Tale of Two Springbanks

I started off writing two single blog posts, one for each of these two 19 Year Old Single Cask whiskies from Master of Malt as I normally would. Then while gathering my thoughts decided that these needed to be brought together as one, as they were both distilled in 1993 and were both matured for 19 years both in hogsheads, yet there was a noticeable difference between the two.

Fortunately I also decided to taste these alongside each other too, however, not only did I line the received samples up in age order, but samples of the same age were lined up in alphabetical order (hence the Deanston being the first nineteen year old to be tasted) and I even established that Cask 129 should come before Cask 410. Now I distinctly remember sorting these out in age order, but was it just lucky that they then followed alphabetically then numerically or does my OCD work on a sub-concious level too?

Whisky Discovery #197

Springbank 19 Year Old Cask 129 Master of Malt (57.8% abv D: 07/05/1993)
Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky
£72.95 70cl (only available from Master of Malt)

Cask #129
This is a lovely Springbank with a beautiful hue, bottled for the Single Cask series. 

Distilled on 7th May 1993 before a 19 year maturation in cask #129, a hogshead. 

It was bottled on the 27th November 2012 and just 221 bottles were filled at 57.8% abv

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Toffee brittle, kelp and hints of linseed oil. Coals on a fire, a little camphor.

Palate: Manuka honey and edamame beans. Rhubarb crumble, allspice, sea spray. Cool smoke.

Finish: Muscovado sugar, a little vanilla. Still very smoky with just a hint of something medicinal.

Whisky Discovery #198

Springbank 19 Year Old Cask 482 Master of Malt (55.2% abv D: 26/11/1993)
Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky
£72.95 70cl (only available from Master of Malt)

Cask #482
This is a robust, full-bodied single cask whisky from the Springbank distillery, distilled on 26th November 1993 and aged for 19 years in cask #482, a hogshead.

Bottled exactly 19 years later of 27th November 2012 and 250 bottles were filled at 55.2% abv. 

Expect lots of coastal, smoky flavour...

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: An oily, coastal nose with hints of heather honey and charred oak. Smouldering.

Palate: Big oak notes to the fore with brackish and crème caramel. Very coastal, just like the nose, this offers a hint of honey, alongside peat smoke and cooked fruit.

Finish: Long, peaty finish. Dark brown sugar and spice.

So What Did We Think?

Unfortunately Kat didn't get to taste these two nineteen year old whiskies either as although on my first tasting of this pair of Springbanks, cask #482 was my personal favourite, I needed to revisit them again the following evening just to make sure (so sorry once again Kat!) 

Just read the two tasting notes from Master of Malt you can quickly see how different these two are. The nose of each offering great flavours. Cask #129 was malty, with vanilla and spice but after a little while in the glass yielded a delicious nose of buttered toast on my second visit, toasted granary bread dripping with butter. When I experienced this I was about to change my mind on these two single cask bottlings until I revisited Cask #429 which is rich and meaty with Balsamic vinegar, dark soy sauce and some honey sweetness, then there is the coastal notes with damp charred wood and hemp rope.

On the palate there are differences too; Cask #129 comes across as slightly tart at first, there's vanilla and oak and a gentle build up of spicy pepper, which settles back to a light honey sweetness and some gentle wood smoke. Cask #429 is the fruitier of the two, with some red berryies, but the spicy pepper comes in waves building up then falling away to sweetness  before building up again and a definite peaty smoke.

What was brought home by nosing and tasting these two Springbank single casks was the skill required by the master distiller blender to bring different casks together to create the 'house' taste of single malt whiskies, ensuring each batch married casks tastes close enough to the previous batch to maintain the brand style.

I wouldn't be disappointed with either of these on my whisky shelf as I really enjoyed both of them. My favourite of the two was cask #429 due to it's rich and meaty notes, but the buttered toast nose of cask #129 almost swayed me for a minute.

Both of these samples came from the new Single Cask Series from Master of Malt.

Want one? Well you have better be quick to get your mitts on one of these two beauties: If it's cask #129 that is calling you click  Cask #129 and if it's my favourite of these two click Cask #482.

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