Review: Springbank 16 Years Old Local Barley

Category: Campbeltown single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Springbank Distillery

Bottling: J & A Mitchell & Company

ABV: 54.3%

Cost: £94.95 from Master of Malt [sold out]

springbank-16-year-old-local-barley-whisky

What they say:

The Springbank distillery in Campbeltown has released Local Barley expressions before, though there hasn’t been one quite a while – until now! This 16 Year Old Local Barley is the first in a series of five expressions to be released over five years. They have used barley grown at Low Machrimore Farm in Southend, which is just a few miles outside of Campbeltown. 9,000 bottles were produced.

Nose:

Authentic seaside fudge, chock-full of vanilla, alongside a touch of sea breeze and dried fruit.

Palate:

More fruit (think ripe pear and a hint of chewy raisin), buttery biscuits and subtle smoky peat.

Finish:

The finish goes on and on, with developing smoke from the peat.

What I say:

The first general release of a Local Barley Springbank expression since 2001, so after a 15 year wait what is it like? During our visit the Local Barley expressions are spoken of in reverential hushed tones and much of the output goes directly to well-known local fans of the distillery. However conditions haven’t been particularly good in a long while to have generated a barley crop in Campbeltown capable of generating a healthy batch of distillate and hence no general release bottlings for some time.

Colour:

Full 22ct Gold (8/20) thick oily legs

Nose:

Sweet and fruity, dusty dunnage warehouse, mineralic chalky and flinty, fruity peach, pear, crisp green apple, lemon, lime, papaya? or mango? almost, sweet honey and cereal barley malt, floral daisies and daffodils, almost a hint of new make – slightly lactic/farmyard.

Taste:

Peach melba and vanilla ice cream, biscuit cereal malt, rich caramelised sugars, butterscotch, Werther’s Original Toffee, fudge, slight hint of malt extract, and beech-wood smoke more toffee and caramel and hints of mineralic slate/flint

Finish:

Long, toffe-d cereal, engine oil, tannic oak wood, peaches and salted caramel ice cream with chocolate sauce with a sour/bitter and lactic undertone

Overall:

Divine, a superb expression, just wow!

Score: 90/100

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