springbank 13 years local barley 2024

Springbank 13 Years Local Barley (2024)

It’s that time of year again. The release of the Springbank 13 Years Local Barley almost went unnoticed. By that, I mean probably not a single bottle hit store shelves. Of course, there was quite an uproar on social media, which I tried to ignore the best I could.

I am not a whisky collector. Or at least not in the traditional sense. I generally buy more than I consume, so I’ve amassed a collection of sorts, but there’s not much rhyme or reason other than my personal preferences. My collection isn’t a neat gathering of certain vintages, brands or bottlers. The only common denominator is that I think it’s good whisky.

However, the modern Springbank Local Barley range (not the earlier 1960s vintages) has almost forced me into the role of collector. Seriously, by now I wish they would stop putting out new ones. Weren’t they originally planning on just releasing five in total? That’s how I was roped in. Back then I figured, ‘That’s a nicely contained little series – I’ll buy one or two bottles of each when they are released.’

At the outset, the idea was to do a tasting of all the Springbank Local Barley after the fifth and final one was released. But then Springbank’s plan changed. And now we have arrived at (by my count) the ninth release, the Springbank 13 Years Local Barley. The problem is that by now the collection has become this precious thing. All bought with the intention of drinking, but with every new release it becomes harder to break them up.

I realise this is a problem of my own making. (Also the most first-world problem ever.) It is exactly the kind of situation I thought I was avoiding. But here we are. Guess I have some thinking to do.

For now, let’s focus our attention on the new Springbank 13 Years Local Barley. Matured in 60% bourbon and 40% sherry casks, this latest release is made from Belgravia grown at Glencraigs Farm.

springbank 13 years local barley 2024 review

Springbank 13 Years Local Barley (54.1%, OB, 2024)

Nose: It’s the vibrant fruits that stand out. Tinned pineapple, nectarines and mangos, as well as some steeped barley, salty liquorice and citrus-y gelato. Slivers of bung cloth too, as well as dunnage floor and a whiff of ozone. The smoke is almost non-existent but adds an important layer of complexity.
Taste: Proper oiliness and a decent waxiness. Hints of charred lemons, wet pebbles, petrichor and a sprinkle of salt, accompanied by wood smoke, peat, some coffee grounds and earthy liquorice root, but also a sliver of chocolate and subtle yellow fruits.
Finish: Long. Lingering smoke, peach and lots of minerality. A sliver of mint too.

Really good Springbank with a fruity, mineral edge. The citrus notes, waxiness and salinity all add to the experience. It didn't exactly blow me away, but that's fine and probably not fair to expect anyway. Springbank has such a singular profile that it stands out regardless. Those who managed to secure a bottle (and plan on opening it), should consider themselves lucky.

Photo: Whisky Hammer

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