The small casks have left an impression of accelerated maturity, with coal smoke, cloves, young oak, and caramel on the rich nose. The palate is big and bold, with a sprinkling of salt, then more youthful wood, milk chocolate, and honey, while the finish is long and slightly tarry.
Nose: Nice and big, with soot and a honeyed / syrup edge, then some sticky dark fruit, maybe damson; then some camphor, oily bandages and a whiff of seaspray. Develops juicy apple notes, toast and some waxy and heathery notes with time in the glass. Forward and assertive, certainly not shy. Very appealing. Water tames it a bit, emphasising sweeter oak notes.
Palate: Big and full. Sweet attack initially, like shredded wheat with honey; a hit of soot and smoke, then peppery spices as the oak steps up a gear. Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut. Salt chocolate. Old-fashioned rhubarb & custard boiled sweets. Bonfire smoke & spices gradually assume control. Water seems to make it more youthful, a flaxy, earthy note appearing alongside the honey.
Finish: Long, dry and briney at full strength. Earthy and a little hotter with water.
Comment: A vibrant dram, headstrong, with a compelling wild side. Don’t bother with the water.
Nose: Seaweed, brine, cracked slates, custard, sweet smoke and a meaty behind. A bit dirty too - sump oil floating on a still ocean...
Palate: Oily, salty, sour boiled sweets, spicy wood, cloves, cinnamon, dried cherries, raisins and a bit of light fruitcake, all surrounded by a lightly smoky tang.
Finish: Cherry bakewells, more woody spice, some liquorice, soft vanilla sugar and a touch of brine.
Comments: This is the sort of oily maritime dram that made me fall in love with Springbank. Roll in some dried fruit and a nice base of smoke and you've got a rather tasty dram.