Springbank – 15yo 1999 rum barrel Whisky Broker / The Gallipoli Association
(Distilled 8/10/99, bottled 29/10/14, demerara rum barrel #300, 52.8%)
Nose: Somewhat rummy, but very definitely sweet and buttery. Think shortbread biscuits covered with crunchy brown sugar. Behind that, though, are both really sharp fruit notes (limes, rosehip syrup, unripe plums) and, while it’s not obviously peaty, some dirty smokiness (tobacco ash, a bit of oil and petrol). It’s certainly interesting, and distinctly Campbeltown. With time in the glass it gets more green and leafy.
Taste: A very oily texture (here’s the Springbank asserting itself) and quite “chewy” in the mouth. Some raisins, lemon, pineapple and vanilla. It’s quite a sharp fruitiness, but gets a touch sweeter as it develops. There’s a bit of dark chocolate in the mix too.
Finish: Lingering ash, but also some nice custardy notes with some burnt sugar sweetness. Think crème brûlée, or rum mixed with buttermilk. More raisins, and a bit of coffee and unrefined sugar at the end.
I’m really glad I held off reviewing this, as it has improved a great deal with a bit of time: a lesson in giving whisky a bit of air, and not rushing to judgement. What was a bit astringent and unbalanced in the first couple of drams from the bottle has become mellow, and now the slight bitterness works as a foil to the richer development and finish.
Don’t come to this whisky expecting some sort of sweet dark rum extravaganza – it’s more like a defiantly un-sweet “grown-up” dessert – but give it some time and you’ll have a ball.