So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Springbank 21 yo ~90s vs Springbank 35 yo 1968 Chieftains #1413

A week into 2017 and already the days fly by. This was meant to be a new year post and it’s a little long in the tooth now but Happy New Year all, 2016 felt like humanity took several steps back in so many ways, lets hope 2017 shows us a better time. One thing for sure is that the times they are a-changing. For this session I look a little farther back in time.

Springbank 21 yo ‘jagged edge’ label 46% ~mid to late 90s

Means a distillation date likely sometime in the 70s… which you might say were equally tumultuous.


There were several versions of this 21, later ones with straight edge labels, and little difference on the label if you know where to look.

Nose Nose: Very nice, and fairly nuanced and gentle. Slightly smoky, and some saltwater and cured meats, and quite some dirty greasy earthiness like wet rag and dank damp wood or mouldy wet leaves. Also the tang of something fermentingly sweet like congealed coke spilt on hot pavements. There’s really quite a hint of something (good) dirty and (good) rank in this one. Also some sort of tree bark tea. Very much what I thought to expect from Springbank.

Taste Palate: It is indeed rather gentle, with all that dirty earthiness but with a small dose of fuzzy warm spices now. Some oaky notes, and what must be smoking room carpet, greasy rags and empty cigar boxes. More phenolic than the nose but not in any way big or aggressive. Oily-rich, wonderful texture.

Finish Finish: Long, some salty, smoky notes, more earth. Quite an explosion of little complexities. Very good.


Seriously good range of 21 year olds, I don’t think any 21 since was as glorious.


Springbank 35 yo 1968 Chieftains #1413 54.2%

So it’s about the same Springbank, except its distilled a few years younger, oh and first fill oloroso, oh and cask strength…


Nose Nose: Next to the 21, it’s rather huge. The sherry influence is thick and viscous and here it is just perfect. So these big dry purples at its aromatic best stirred with hot tar and bitter herbals, which in turn matches the very earthy wet compost- engine oil-sooty rags character which must be Springbank in full ululation. Lots and lots of earthy  wet wood and wet sackcloth. Mouldering fruit on the tree a week into high summer. Not hugely complex maybe, but its a big show.

Taste Palate: Big again, and powerful. Very ‘present’, with an upfront richness that is drily aromatic. Lots of wood notes and wood tannins but its really not too much here. I’m surprised myself, but this works. The earthier notes follow suit and the tongue is awash in black earth and the taste of dank warehouses fumigated with engine smoke. Lots of licorice and other rooty-ness.

Finish Finish: Long, calms down a fair bit but the sherry elements stand out. Dried plums and olives. And smoke.


Generally I don’t like sherry in whisky, but I can make an exception when i) it came from old high quality sherry butts, and ii) in Springbank.

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2017 by in Springbank and tagged .
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