One of the most highly anticipated releases of this year already: Springbank 16 Years Local Barley. It’s easy to see why: Local Barley was an iconic range of 1965 / 1966 expressions released in the 1990s.
Made with prisma barley (a spring barley) grown at Low Machrimore Farm in the south of the Kintyre peninsula, this was distilled in September 1999 and aged for 16 years. There were 80% bourbon casks and 20% European oak sherry casks in the mix.
This is the first of five annual releases (not sure this would mean the last will be a 21 Year Old?). Only 9000 bottles were available worldwide – Belgium got 450 but I think most of these were sold before arriving on the shelves.
Springbank 16 yo 1999 ‘Local Barley’ (54,3%, OB 2016, 9000 btl.)
Nose: pepper, wet ropes. Sweet malty notes (sweeter than in other Springbanks, or so it seems) with some honey, vanilla and lemon candy. Hints of engine oil and very light peat. After some time it develops nice mirabelle notes and lemon sherbet, which gives this a rather unique edge.
Mouth: thick, pretty sweet with a similar vanilla, apricot and sherbet combination. Earthy notes, hints of brine. Hints of biscuits, some pink grapefruit and pear. Lovely fruitiness really, with a light floral touch as well. Light heather honey.
Finish: medium long, just slightly drier, with subtle earthy smoke, apple peel and lemon.
The current-day Springbank profile is unique and rather excellent already. This one has all the classic notes, yet it adds in a nice fruitiness and buttery roundness. Great balance. Around € 120. Some say that’s too expensive, but I think it’s worth it. And remember I’ve already seen double that amount in auctions. Or even more from TWB.