Springbank 2004/2013 Gaja Barolo
Wine finishes, what to think of ’em? Plenty of whisky drinkers won’t even come near a wine finished dram, but there’s also a minority who absolutely love these type of whiskies. For me the jury is still out. I’ve had good ones and not so good ones. But that applies to all the single malt whiskies I’ve tasted, not just the wine finished ones.
Today I review an example of a successful wine finished dram. Or I really should say double matured, because this whisky has spent more than half its life in ex-Barolo casks.
Springbank 2004/2013 Gaja Barolo (54,7%, OB, 11.000 bts.)
Nose: Grainy and salty with peat and wood smoke. Oh, and a hint of rubber as well. I should also mention that this is very earthy. The peat mellows after a while and then white grapes, melon, peaches and lemons begin to shine through. Also some ozone (that distinct smell after it has rained).
Taste: Peat and campfire smoke with burlap, chalk and earthy notes. Some chocolate and oranges, as well as black pepper. Pretty tannic.
Finish: Long. A hint of chocolate, some oranges. The peat and earthy notes also make an encore.
There’s not much red wine influence to be detected, which is strange because of the maturation in ex-Baralo casks. But that doesn’t really matter, because I like this a lot. A good example of how young whisky can also be very good. Just don’t expect a wine-y whisky.
Even though this is a release from two years ago, it is still available. Whiskybase has plenty of shoplinks.
Thanks to Peter for the sample.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.