LeeEvolved

Springbank Green 13 Year

Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown , Scotland

Tasted
5.0
5.0 out of 5 stars
Something amazing happened here tonight. I’m currently in the mountains of West Virginia visiting my dad. I brought along a couple of samples because I knew my sleep pattern would be screwed up from working overnight and overtime all last week. Here I sit, on the back deck at 3am, with everyone else tucked in and sleeping. I might as well review a scotch. The 13 year Springbank Green was given to me by my good friend @Telex. We initially had a sample at Whiskyfest several weeks ago, and I wasn’t really a fan. There was lots of great stuff floating around the hotel and this one just didn’t play well there IMO. Oh what a difference a change in venue makes...here in the mountains, I’ve left behind the pollution, smog and diesel fumes I’m used to from living so close to an industrial park and the beltway around Richmond, VA. The air is clean and my nose is working better than I could’ve imagined. Before we get into that, this Springbank is named Green because it uses organic barley for the fermentation. It spent all of its 13 years in sherry casks and is bottled at 46% ABV. It’s a dark gold in the taster and makes a few oily, thin legs in the taster. There’s a slight pinkish-red hue in there that tells me the quality of the casks used was fantastic. The nose is immensely complex. It was so involving that it sent me scurrying to the corners of the Internet looking for ways to try to explain what it exactly is I’m smelling here. First off, there’s typical sherry notes, raisins and light smoke swirling around, but then there is a perplexing funk. Not just your usual barnyard or band aid funk- it’s something else. It reminded me of unripened apples at first, so I googled unripened, fruit aromas and found something kind of cool: aceldehyde. This compound is a result of the absence of hydrogen molecules in fruit, particularly apples that fall from a tree too early. It doesn’t allow the aromas to form properly. It also comes into play during sherry production, while adding extra levels of apple and wet hay flavor to some wine. Man, science is cool. That’s the flavor descriptor coming into play with this whisky. I believe it’s tied to the organic barley in creating the depth here. Crazy aromas on the nose. The palate isn’t nearly as exciting: sherry sweetness, charcoal and a bit of smoke with some minerality, apples and custard. It’s a smooth mouthfeel while steadily growing warmer as you roll it around the tongue. The finish is warm, lingering while accentuating the bitter, funky hay again. It dries over time and turns peppery. A nice way to end things, actually. Overall, I would’ve given this a 3-3.5 back at the hotel in DC, but out here in the mountains of WV the smell of dirty politics isn’t around and it just smells like nature, and I’m sure that’s what was intended by Springbank. I gotta say it’s a 4.25-4.5, but taking “terroir” into play has made this a near perfect tasting experience, so I’m going to bump it up to a 5 star rating. It’s a shame we all can’t get a taste like this while in the perfect environment. Like the fine chaps at Bruichladdich say- terroir does make a difference. A big thanks to Jason for letting me bring a pour home, and it was purely blind luck that I grabbed this one for my review up here in the mountains, but it worked out so damn well. Cheers, my friends.
  • Telex

    This review is extremely surprising after your initial response, but I completely agree on trying to find a “cleaner” environment to sample. We should take this in to account when we plan our next meeting. In the early 1700s, my ancestors came across from the Baltimore and Pennsylvania areas to Monogahelia and then on to Sutton and settled in the middle of West Virginia. There’s something special about those mountains.

  • LeeEvolved

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. I was really just feeling this one. I followed it up with a flavored moonshine and went to bed with a stomach ache, lol. I’ll never learn.

  • SolanaRoots

    Tremendous review @LeeEvolved & a good advertisement for why it’s difficult for a single pour to inform a whisky opinion. Different time, palate, environment, frame of mind all impact an impression. Cheers

  • cascode

    Great review - yes, this one was particularly good.

  • Rick_M

    @LeeEvolved - The man is hitting his stride on these reviews. Well done!

  • Scott_E

    Great review. The mountainous countryside always does wonders to the mind and senses. This SP13 sounds like another winner from a fine distiller.

  • Generously_Paul

    Very much looking forward to trying my sample after this review. Great job and I hope your mini vacation is going well

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @LeeEvolved I’m in the concrete-turnpike jungle of New Jersey. That alone might now mean I should factor the terroir and bump everything up 3 points

  • Slainte-Mhath

    Great review, Lee!