Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 19 – Springbank 15 Year
We’ve fallen a day behind on KWM Whisky Advent 2015, and I am eager to get us all caught right back up. As they say, it is better late than never, so let’s get to it!
December 19th’s whisky is from one of my favourite distilleries, Scotland’s most traditional, and oldest family owned distillery, Springbank. Today Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland to do 100% of the whisky making process for all of its whiskies on site, from malting to bottling. The distillery operates in a cycle that used to be dictated by law, malting and distilling at separate times, usually in three month intervals. Consequently when you go to Springbank you aren’t likely to see the distillery both malting and distilling at the same time, though you will get to see the whole process from barley to bottle; its greatest charm. This is a practice that was once mandated by law, and which has been abandoned by all distilleries, save one. It is a part of the tradition that Springbank proudly caries on today.
There are other curiosities at Springbank too, like the series of three pot stills I referred to in the post on Day 13, and the strange practice of partial distillation they do with their core Springbank malt. In addition to being lightly peated, the spirit is partially triple distilled and then the two parts blended back together before filling into casks. And that is far from the only strange practice at this distillery, my favourite surrounds the fermentation. Most distilleries strive to max out their fermentation, converting as many of the sugars as possible into alcohol. They will even switch suppliers of malt if they feel they aren’t getting a good enough yield per ton of barley. Springbank intentionally stops its fermentation at 5%, achieving little more than half their full yield, and when you ask them why, you get the kind of answer that would make an accountant cringe and whisky lover swoon, “because this is how it has always been done.” Stepping into the Springbank Distillery is like stepping back in time, it is easy to see why its owner and employees want to keep it just so!
Springbank 15 Year - 46% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: so fruity, melons, apricots, bananas, almost overwhelmingly so with a diced fruit bowl effect; lingering underneath some Demerara sugars, leather and a trace of maritime notes, peat and spices; Palate: rich, fruity, round and leathery, the delicate fruits from the fruit bowl found on the nose are still there complimented by assorted dried dark fruits; there is a creamy buttery base with crisp spices, leather and tobacco developing; salted caramel and smoke emerge later on the palate; Finish: caramel, fruits and spices fade leaving earthy peat, leather and tobacco on the finish; Comments: the Springbank 15 morphs a little in style from time to time, the distillery unlike others makes no bones about that, regardless it never disappoints!” - $111.99
Stay tuned for Day 20 of KWM Whisky Advent Later Today