Well, this bottling had a lot of potential for the purist, but alas the bourbon cask wood used was obviously bedraggled. Yes, we are likely talking about casks that were far from "fresh" bourbon (well, maybe one in the bunch to impart a vanilla finish).
I find the description of "fresh and refill bourbon" to be a bit of a stretch. We're talking a 9000 bottle yield, after all. None of those casks were leaky or prone to sharing too much with angels, mind you. The ABV is plenty high for 14 years. The wood was just plumbed tuckered out.
Nose: Dunage warehouse, old tired wood, vanilla, touch of sulfur, unripe orchard fruits, hemp rope, raw eggs, dark chocolate.
Palate: Bovine methane, a touch of peat, old tired wood, pond scum (as in green algae), citrus, ginger.
Finish: Medium in length, more cow effluvium, mud, funk, vanilla.
This farmy, dank, funky, stanky dram would have been much better with more in the way of FRESH bourbon wood, instead of last call for alcohol beaters that are a bit long in the tooth and on their last leg.
I could use this dram as a litmus test for "taste." Literally. If anyone goes on and on about its virtues. . . .
Even Serge's 87 makes me feel nostalgic. In the good ole days, he would have shredded this bottle. Although, in all fairness, he kind of does shred it a little, despite his generous score: "You're also chomping on cactus leaves and burnt broccoli."
Then again, Serge liked the broccoli note of a more recent Jura Chap 7. I didn't have the nerve to pull the trigger on that Jura, even though it sounded intriguing.
Do I regret buying this Springbank? No, but I regret taking the time to find one.
Although in all fairness, it wasn't all that hard to find. For a limited release, quite a few bottles were floating around for a while with no takers. Until lockdowns took care of that problem (bored thirsty mouths with ample surfing time).