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Springbank 15 Year Old

Reviewed by: Nick

springbank-15-year-old

The best drams are those that come with a sense of place. The Islay peat monsters smell like the fresh peaty air of the island on which they were made and taste like the fires the locals use to keep warm in the winter (and the summer). The drops from Speyside are as luscious and floral as the green fields which line the roads in the sunny north east (at least it was sunny the day I was there. Maybe I used up Scotland’s sunshine quota that day…)

Equally, whisky made at Springbank distillery tastes like the town in which it is made. Campbeltown was once a thriving maritime city full of trade, shipbuilding, and of course, fishing. Now, hold your horses there Whisky Waffle. Surely I’m not implying that this dram… is the whisky equivalent of fishing? Crazily enough, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting! And it works. As in really, really works.

Unlike the 10 Year Old Springbank expression, the 15 has spent its extra maturation time in ex-oloroso sherry barrels and the added complexity is clear from start to finish.

On the nose, oily, briny characteristics are immediately noticeable. There is the faintest hint of smoke, perhaps blown in from nearby Islay. The palate is gently spicy, courtesy of its 46% nature. There are flavours of caramel and pineapple contrasting intriguingly with meaty and, dare I say it, fishy aspects. The finish is pleasingly long, really encapsulating the seafaring town with notes of salt and sea-spray.

On this blog, I do boast about a range of things, but even I can’t say I have ever been to 18th century Campbeltown (or even the current 21st century edition for that matter). However, by simply pouring myself a dram of Springbank 15 and closing my eyes (don’t try it the other way around – you’ll waste good whisky!), in my mind I am immediately transported there. I can smell and taste it for sure!

★★★★

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Glenfiddich 12 Year Old

Reviewed by: Nick

Glenfiddich 12 whisky waffle

Glenfiddich is undeniably the most popular distiller of single malt Scotch whisky in the world. This is demonstrated in a number ways. Their long history dating back to William Grant himself. Their extensive range of expressions, which includes a fifty year old that is not impossible to come by. Their whopping 28 stills on site. Or perhaps, the simple fact that they sell more whisky than any other distillery in Scotland.

Their top selling bottle is their 12 Year Old. Its distinctive green packaging is synonymous with Scottish whisky. And it is a very drinkable malt. But cannot in any way be described as remarkable.

While the distillery will try and impress upon you a likeness to pears in this dram, the palate and especially the nose are in fact more floral in nature: more akin to a stroll through a florists than a greengrocers. Some spice and oak begin to develop before finally the merest hint of sweet fruit arrives at the very back-end of the finish.

Overall, this is a fairly light whisky in a pleasant and yet slightly disappointing way. After the build up concerning its popularity, the end result is somewhat of an anticlimax. Despite being the world’s best selling single malt whisky it does not convince me that it is also the best representation of Scotland.

★★