Smoky Creamy Grass
“Have you ever tried a Campbeltown?” is probably a question that every whisky drinker gets asked at some point in their journey around the mysterious web of distilleries that are found across Scotland. Seeing as this proud region has been reduced to just two distilleries often the answer is “no”. Hopefully however the question has been asked by a man with a bottle in his hand, and hopefully he is prepared to enlighten you.
Our introduction to Campbeltown came at Milroy’s of Soho at the suggestion of their magnificent bar staff. The 15 year old was brought at as our curiosity was piqued by the fact that this is a distillery where the whole process is contained on site. From malting to bottling Springbank do everything but grow their barley.
The whisky shines a deep clear amber in the glass, just a hint of green shines out and brings to mind rolling green hills shining in the aftermath of a summer shower. On the nose it is deep and dark, the smoke comes through strongly and is laced with burnt grapefruit and caramelised demerara. A twist of fresh washed leather just lightens it up so as to not be overbearing.
The stills at Springbank are some of the few that still have direct heat applied and the 15 is distilled two and a half times. This application and process result in a smooth mouthfeel and a pronounced oaky flavour. The smoke from the nose is present once more in the taste but it’s lighter, green smoke, almost like burnt grass or smouldering fresh leaves. There is a creaminess here as well and as with the nose there’s a delightful complexity that mellows the initial punch.
The 15 is a satisfying dram that lingers in the mouth without overstaying its welcome. As it fades the taste of toasted biscuits lingers slightly to bring the dram to a very fine finish.