Alchemist Springbank 10yo

10 years old, distilled December 1995, bottled January 2006, 46% abv, Port Cask matured

DSC_0180The deep mahogany richness of this dram, tinged with a little red, gives away the game - it spent its entire ten years in a port cask. Well, possibly port casks - this may be multiple casks in one bottling, depending on how much we want to read into the label text: "... this outstanding Port matured bottling. In Port casks all its life..." (emphasis mine) - it was either reracked into other port casks, or is multiple casks.

Do I care about such details? No, not one jot. The lack of information on the bottle is more than compensated for by the information my senses can provide...

The nose is huge - an immediate and unmistakable hit of port, followed by highland fudge, strawberries, and stewed apples & pears. The mouthfeel is thin and light, and a little drying. The body again has those big port notes up front, and then the dram begins to dry - your tongue. As it does, the rich port rolls away to reveal honeycomb, fudge, red apples, pears, and hints of strawberry flavoured chewing gum. The finish seems absent at first - perhaps the sheer scale of this dram has dumbed my senses? - but then builds rapidly into a return of the port and some cinder toffee.

This dram is part thermonuclear weapon, part ballet dancer. It's an astonishing combination of power and presence, poise and elegance.

Should I add water? I do, but out of curiosity more than need... It brings tight whorling that a mayfly would think short-lived. The nose now has a little less port, and a little more fruit - and bit of mint and thyme. Which was surprising. The body also surprised, with a little more of the fruit and bubblegum and less honeycomb and fudge - and a hint of dark chocolate at the very end. The finish brings back the honeycomb, still has the cinder toffee but the port is subdued.

A remarkable dram. A crazy dram. Not bad crazy. "We choose to go to the moon" crazy. Full maturation in port was a risk, but it was a risk worth taking.