Battle of the Springbank 21 Single Casks: Holland vs. Belgium
It’s Springbank Week on Words of Whisky, and I’ve already tasted the Springbank 12yo Burgundy and the Springbank 16yo Local Barley. But I’m not quite done yet. Today it’s time to review two of the new Springbank 21 Single Cask releases.
In recent weeks, Springbank has released a flurry of official 21yo single casks for different markets, including the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Taiwan and Italy. As far as I know, all of them come from an Oloroso sherry hogshead.
Springbank also bottled a 21yo single cask for The Netherlands and Belgium, and I managed to get my hand on a couple of samples of both. I thought it be fun to make it a bit of a competition, and see which of the single casks I like best. We’ll start with the Dutch one, and then try the Belgian one. Here we go!
Springbank 21 (48%, OB, Bottled for Fourcroy, The Netherlands)
Nose: Subtle sherry influences. Fresh peaches, apircots and plum jam. Galia melon too. Just a hint of tobacco and some leather. A very mature and round nose.
Taste: Oily. More apricots, some light honey notes too. A tad waxy. There’s a nice subtle amount of furniture polish and leather. Cloves. And now the peat finally shows too. Very restrained though, which is how I like it. While I found the first sip impressive already, it gets better with every sip thereafter.
Finish: Wax, furniture polish and subtle peat. Long and delicious.
Springbank 21 (48,2%, OB, Bottled for The Nectar, Belgium)
Nose: The sherry influence is sophisticated. Plum juice, sweet oranges and peaches. Some overripe banana peel too. In the background there’s some tobacco leaves, honey and an über-subtle hint of peat.
Taste: Nice and oily mouthfeel, always a plus. Sweet apricots and slightly bitter oranges, with some tobacco and furniture polish. Subtle, restrained peat. Also some cloves. Excellent balance.
Finish: Slightly peppery, peaty and waxy. Long and beautiful.
These two Springbanks are very similar. The Dutch one is slightly fresher while the Belgian one is a tad sweeter, but as you can see my notes are very similar. Both are examples of a delicious older style of whisky.
I couldn’t give you a winner, not even if I started using half points (which I’d never do by the way). They’re close to 300 euro, which is a lot of money. But in the current market they represent good value for money.
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.