Some of you might remember my post here back in 2011. Well, I took my own advice and opened another bottle of whisky last week. It wasn’t for Christmas or New Years Eve, but rather somewhere in the middle of the week. I’m really glad I did, because it tastes great! And, as it is with many of my whiskies, there’s a story to this one too.
It was back in the early 1990s. I don’t remember which year, because I was traveling to Scotland quite a bit. I was in Edinburgh and paid my usual visit to the Cadenhead’s shop on the Royal Mile to see what Springbank whiskies they had for sale.
When I asked about Springbank 15 year old, Neil Clapperton, the gentleman who ran the shop, said that they were out of stock. But, by this time, he knew me because I had been in the shop several times before. That’s when he told me that he did have one bottle of Springbank 15 year old, but the proof is wrong on it. Instead of the usual 46% for Springbank, he said that this one was 50%. He then took out a marker and blacked out the 46% on the label and hand-wrote 50% next to it. (If you look closely at the over-exposed label, you might be able to see it on the lower right.) He said that if I was okay with it and wanted to buy it, he would sell it to me for the usual price.
100 proof Springbank 15 year old? Was I okay with it? Does a bear shit in the woods??
I happily purchased the bottle, along with some other cool Springbanks and Cadenhead’s whiskies, and held onto it for quite some time. It was worth the wait. It’s outstanding–a stunningly complex Springbank in a ex-bourbon casks. Nothing fancy. If you ever get a chance to taste Springbank that was distilled prior to their 1980s silent period, do it! If you think the current bottlings of Springbank are splendid (and many of the are), you just might be blown away with one of these earlier bottlings.
The only thing that frustrates me right now: Neil told me why this one was bottled at 50% ABV when I bought it from him and, after all these years, I forgot what he said!
Oh well. The whisky is great. That’s what matters most. And I’m drinking and sharing it with like-minded friends.
I’m not sure if you are a “New Year’s resolution” kind of person or not. But if you are, make a resolution to open up a bottle or two (or more) of your special whiskies that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. The whisky itself is reason enough to celebrate.