An absolute gem in the Perfect Fifth line up. At 96 points it's close to the legendary Highland Park they've also bottled, but for half the price. Jim Murray says, "Anyone who remembers the old Springbank 25-year-olds of the early 1990s will recognize this aroma as a direct descendent - indeed it is near enough identical in both weight and character. The huge, nuggety oak is faultless (this must have come from a cask which had been seasoned in the old - virtually lost - style). Salt dominates but there are dried apricots and spiced pear, too. Meanwhile the vaguest of peaty notes (and I mean the odd atom here and there!) teases away as a barely audible background noise, which automatically becomes louder the moment you spot it. Taste: A malt on the threshold of perhaps dallying too closely with the oak. But that coastal-style bite makes just the right contact with the salty tannins and cocoa-laden phenol to make a course for more complex and satisfying port. Just enough oil makes the middle rich and promises a long finale. Finish: Drier, as is to be expected, as the tannins raise their game. Still salty, but a little barley sugar and lemon juice lightens the intensity, though - happily, but not too much; the residual oils ensure the finish is of extraordinary length. Balance: A real return to the past here with Springbank in its most full-bodied, uncompromising and complex style which those of us who discovered the distillery in the 1980s remember with great affection."
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