2020 Special Release Peated Campbeltown Malt
I really enjoy the funky Springbank flavors coming out of Campbeltown. The core range Longrow is delicious and I especially love the Red series. That Chilean Cab was divine! Peat and wine pair so well together so I happily bought this bottle without a second thought.
Initially matured for 7 years in bourbon barrels followed by an additional 3 years in a refill Malbec barrique. Bottled at cask strength proof at 52.5%. Was tasted in both a Glencairn as well as a Laddie Dram glass. 3-5 drops of water added while tasting and resting.
Gorgeous auburn color with noticeably thick legs in the glass.
The peat and wine flavors hit you in the nose right off the bat. It makes for a great combo as you dive deeper for other flavors. There’s an underlying seaweed salinity that cuts through with a rich earthy nuttiness. Melatic, copper pennies. Plums, blackberries, and currents. A fermented element like a beer batter yeasty quality. Whisky soaked raisins. Dark bitter baking chocolate. A certain minerality to it. Woodsy, moss, charcoal. With a small drop of water there’s a rise in citrus aromas in your glass.
The peat is much more present on the palate. Where I thought I was smelling around the peat, it’s clear this is a peated malt when tasting. Heavy mineral and earthy flavors. It might be from the cask type but also certainly from the peat smoke. Fruity and tannic flavors are here too. Black berries, dark stone fruits – cherry, plum, dates. Plenty of nice baking spices as well with floral ceylon cinnamon and nutmeg. Lastly, there is a fantastic silky soft texture to this whisky that makes it enjoyable to sip.
Peat comes through strong on the finish with those briny seaweed flavors. Campfire flavors of tobacco, old leather and charcoal. There’s a nagging fruit that catches the side of your tongue and begs you to search for the flavor as you sip. Maybe I’m just susceptible to these flavors but the minerality and metallic notes are noticeable. Copper and tin flavors along with soil, clay, and calcium-like flavors.
Very honest here, but this is a hard one to judge. First few glasses I really didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I liked all of the flavors but something just didn’t *hit*. Then I tried a glass at a dinner with friends. Paired it with some cheeses from a charcuterie board and finally it clicked. The salinity, metals, and minerals really do well with the creamy, fatty proteins. I’d bet with a really nice steak the flavors would do even better.
I’m not saying this cannot stand on it’s own, I just feel like it’s a whisky that does better when paired with food. There’s a lot of umami flavors already in the glass. Couple with some protein and a bit of acid and you’ve taken this whisky to another level.