Review No.222. Springbank Local Barley 9 Year Old

It probably doesn’t need repeating but I will anyway.  Springbank are one of the most highly rated distilleries amongst whisky fans. Springbank is considered to be one of only a few single malts on the market that resemble what old school whisky use to be like according to some commentators.  I have reviewed the 10 and 15 year old and have been impressed although I wouldn’t say I am a devout follower of the brand.  The reason for this is because their whiskies are difficult to get into. Springbanks have a distinct style that is quite hard to summarise….well it isn’t approachable, easy drinking and if you venture past the 10 year old then expect to pay a high price. Having said that, I have found their single malt to be beautifully complex and an experience. If you were to drink a Springbank like a session whisky then you will be missing out on a lot. This version I am reviewing is very difficult to get hold of, a bottle was stocked at my local wine store but the price was just ridiculous in my opinion (£150+) when it was initially less than half that price I’m sure.  Anyway I managed to purchase a sample.


Whisky: Springbank Local Barley 9 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 57.7%

Nose: Lavendar, cardboard, honey, peat, wet grass, earth, heather, lemon, chlorine, petrol

Taste: Honey, chilli, lemon sherbet, cardboard, peat, pepper, linseed oil, sea salt

Finish: Lemon sherbet, chilli, peat

Score: 3.75

Summary: This is rich and lively.  Really shows how good younger single malt can be.  So much on the nose which I would describe as being earthy and chemical like but in a nice way…in a way that petrol smells nice.  This is quite palatable at 57.7% but I would suggest water.  Things calm down a bit on the taste and I found that with some time and water a lot of that initial lively spikiness on the nose tempers down. I kept on picking new flavours which each sip, it kept me guessing.  Oh and there is a nice coastal element to this too.  Again this is another one that is hard to summarise, just so much going on.  I will stick to earth and chemical with a touch of spice.  A different experience and not one you can easily find from other distilleries which is what make Sprinbank malts so much in demand.



Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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