It’s not often these days that I get to try an old new (new old?) release, as prices have gone so crazy that anything over the 20 year mark is generally unobtainable, other than part of wider tastings or distillery visits. However, with the rise of virtual tastings during COVID, new releases have become a bit more accessible via tasting packs, and it’s in this light that a 26yo Springbank came my way.
This bottle came out in the Summer Release (1) of Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection alongside 7 other bottlings, and was listed at a cool £600. However, the tasting pack containing 2cl bottles of all 8 was available for £40, with free delivery to Cadenhead’s shops – this was accompanied by an online tasting (see video below). You have to be quick to grab these packs when they have something rare in them, a case in point being the one the following month that I missed, which contained an Ardbeg 29yo (£1000 per bottle), a 34yo Strathclyde, a 20yo Glenfarclas and 5 others – still for £40, which is less per ml than the full bottles – an amazing deal [tasting].
My tasting notes are as follows, and you can see what the guys at Cadenhead’s thought about it underneath.
Springbank 1997/2023 26yo
Bourbon Hogshead | 56.7%
Nose: Nutty, fizzy citrus, floral and woody
Taste: Spicy, a bit of toffee, sour lemon sweets and a dash of rose water
Finish: It gets spicier towards the end (not to my liking), then the toffee becomes a banana toffee undercurrent, which was very pleasant
Overall: It’s very drinkable with a nice balance of sweet and sour but a bit too aggressive in places I don’t love. Quite a light colour for its age, but that’s no bad thing. I have to say, coming back to the glass the next day, it smelled amazing – but alas, was only a wee sample and couldn’t give it a second go.
Score: 6.7/10 – I just didn’t take to it, somehow – great to try though!
The accompanying virtual tasting – the Springbank section starts at 55:18.
This bottle was, in some places, listed as being reserved for Cadenhead’s Club, although I don’t remember that being the case. Still, it’s a great club to join, as you get advance notice of bottles as well as an annual club only bottle and occasional other club release. You pay for all these things, but it gives you an opportunity to try them, at least, and a small amount of exclusivity. Another great place for similar opportunities is Springbank Society (although I see they’re not taking new members as of right now), which provides a chance to grab some excellent, unique Springbank bottles (and Hazelburn / Longrow). Recent offerings have included the Springbank 30yo (£850, ha) and a 16yo Hazelburn Port Cask (this link will only work for Society members). I grabbed one of the latter in the ballot – some bottles are balloted due to limited availability – looking forward to tasting it!