- 92 Proof
I've mentioned in the past my recent exploration of and admiration for all things coming out of Campbeltown. This is just a continuance of that exploration. Lately, though, I've been gravitating back towards peat as well. I've always loved peated Scotch, particularly when married with a sherry, port or other wine finishes. Yet, due to my hyper-focus on the bourbon and rye categories, that delicious, smoky liquid just hasn't been enough of a part of my life the last couple years.
And so, I picked this bottle up (along with a few others) with the intention of not only trying more from the Springbank distillery, but also to re-stock and re-familiarize myself with some nice, peaty expressions. At the very least it provides for a nice change of pace from my usual pours, and it's nice to have something different now and again.
The nose was, as expected, full of peat. However, it was kind of like a smoked salted caramel, which really worked. In fact, it makes me wonder how smoked caramel would actually be--probably great on vanilla ice cream! I also got a sweet buttery note along with a light black pepper spice. At times I got a sort of herbal or grassy note as well, but the peat and caramel certainly dominated.
As to flavor, of course I've been drinking a lot more bourbon over the past years, so perhaps I have some recency bias. But, I thought this was a very bourbon-like Scotch layered over a pleasant peat note. I was getting a lot of those traditional bourbon notes, primarily vanilla and caramel. There was also a sort of graham cracker note that also evoked those bourbon-like qualities.
Beyond that, though, were plenty of other sweet and bright notes. In addition to the caramel, there was this light and bright honey sweetness that stood out. This seemed to mingle with citrus notes like orange and apricot, and even a little bit of peach thrown in. This combination along with the nice, oily texture (particularly given the proof) provided for a finish that was jammy and sweet and absolutely delicious. In fact on the finish these other notes seemed to almost take over the peat.
As far as peated Scotch goes, this had everything I loved. It gave me that great smoky quality, but it didn't get in the way of all the other great notes that were coming through. I was pleasantly surprised at how bourbon-like many of these flavors were, and I loved the way all these different notes--the peat, the rich and sweet caramel, and the bright and sweet jammy notes--all worked together. Springbank continues to do it for me!