Local Barley 11 just in the picture for fun
Well this is quite a milestone. Enough of one to have cracked open my recently received bottle of Springbank’s latest Local Barley bottling (though that would have happened anyway). It took me a while to start taking notes on the whiskies I drink, but a huge encouragement to do so was the reddit /r/scotch sub. Now that I’m 500 (Scotch) whiskies down the line, I can’t express how awesome of a community it is and how great it feels to be a part of it.
On to the whisky geekiness, because that’s what a whisky like this is (or should be) for. I went quite in depth into the barley varietal with last year’s Local Barley release, it being distilled from Bere barley. Bere is an extremely interesting varietal, having been used quite extensively before the industrialisation of the industry. This year’s release is Belgravia from West Backs Farm which is a very different creature. It’s very much the product of modern selective breeding and modification. It’s known for both a high yield and for being very disease resistant. Interestingly Belgravia is quite well used in the distilling industry in Scotland, but for distilling grain whisky.
Another change from last year is the fact that this is a vatting of 70% bourbon casks and 30% sherry casks, close to Springbank’s core range, whereas the previous local barley release was matured entirely in ex-bourbon casks. This will influence flavour, which is great because Springbank seems to go well with sherry, but is kind of less fun from the geeky perspective where one would want to compare the effects of the various kinds of barley.
Aged 10 years. 57.3%. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at batch strength.
Nose: Creamy. Quite dirty, much closer to the regular Springbank profile. Glace cherries. Slight chemical smoke. Marscapone. Stroopwaffel. Slightly floral. Nice mix of citrus and red fruits. Some saline notes floating around but you have to look for them.
Palate: Quite thick and oily. I got a bit of dark caramel and tobacco. Wood smoke and fruit leather. Vanilla is still here, and the citrus, the red fruits have diminished a little. There’s a nice, sweet woody note, like maple syrup but drier. Right at the end I get some notes like Hall’s Honey & Lemon throat lozenges.
Finish: Long. The dirty, oily character kind of flairs and then fades.More of that sweet, dry woody flavour along with light fruits, mainly yellow apples, honey and then a burst of citrus oils.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was a lovely one. It was very much a Springbank with quite a bit of the classic distillery profile to it. It had a good oily, dirty character to it while balancing this very well with its lighter, fruitier side.
A lovely, nicely balanced whisky and for my palate definitely the favourite of the two Local Barley bottles I was able to get a hold of, the addition of some sherry casks was a really good idea IMO.