Springbank – Local Barley 16YO

While writing one of last week’s reviews, we realised just how lucky we are with the shops that are local to us in our home town of Bristol. Last week we mentioned one of these, the brilliant Arkwrights in HIghworth and this week we are giving another local shop some much deserved praise.

Independent Spirit of Bath is a fantastic place to satiate two of our loves, quality ale and interesting whisky. We can only assume that Chris and Christian are in some way associated with a drinks based mafia gang, as they seem to get their hands on some of the most amazing and interesting new whiskies and ales. They even bottle their own whiskies, a review for which you can find here on our site.

Last time I was in the shop, I was picking up a box of the 2/6 collaboration ales, which we have tucked away for special drinking times. This was a limited release beer and the chaps let me call dibs through their twitter account. When I arrived, they even furnished me with some lovely whiskies to sample. One of which, we review today.

Springbank is a Campbeltown distillery, that was established in 1828 on the site of an illicit still. It is now owned by the fifth generation of the Mitchell family. They are one of the, if not the only distillery in the country that complete 100% of the process of creating whisky on site. If you are still not 100% on the process of creating whisky, then the Springbank site has a great run through, which you can find here.

Local Barley is the first in a series of five limited releases that Springbank will produce over the next five years. They have used local barley grown on Low Machrimore Farm in Southend, which is near to Campbeltown. Only 9000 of these bottles of whisky were created.

Price: £90 – 110

Appearance: Light and straw like, but somehow faded by the beating heat of sunshine into a deeper, more golden colour.

Aroma: Smoke, peat, lemon and pineapple boiled sweets.

Taste: This dram starts with a punch of flavour, in no way does it build carefully, it just arrives on the palate as soon as it hits the mouth. There is an explosion of salty, peated earthy smoke, which is smoothied in a flavour blender with vibrant, sweet tropical fruit. The most noticeable flirty flavour is pineapple, but there is more here, it is somewhat like a fire accidentally taking place in a tropical fruit field.

The middle of this dram is golden in flavour. There is a sweetness and spice, which bursts into life like firelight breaking through the darkness on a still, calm night under the stars. There is muted smoke here, but this is very much in the background. Also there is a clear sharpness and a tang, lime maybe or lemon.

Finally, the spice opens into a numbing wooden spice. Although there is still a sweetness that runs right through this dram, showing itself here in the final flourishes of flavour. The smoke also lingers in the way that a puffs of smoke would have lingered around the jazz clubs of old.

Overall: This is a big flavoured, powerful dram that is smoky, salty, sweet and fruity. It is full of different notes that rise to the surface, appearing with a sparkle and then they float back down into the mix. If you can get hold of this dram, and that will be a challenge, you most definitely should. Even if you need to share the bottle with a few friends to afford the high price tag.

Real Dram Factor: 8.4

Source: Sample from Independent Spirit

More Information: www.springbankwhisky.com

Buy Online: Follow the chaps at Independent Spirit on Twitter and see if you can call dibs on the bottle that they have left (If it is still there)

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