Review: Very Old Malts from Passive Casks (Springbank 45 y.o., Lochside 1967 and BenRiach 1971)

Easter dramming is in full session. Following up on the recent review of pale drams, here are three more nice examples out of quite inactive casks. Check it out:


Springbank 45 y.o. OB (Mini-Series from around 2000), 46%


Springbank 40 y.o. and 45 y.o. Miniatures (left)

Something salty to start out with, Springbank it is. Unfortunately, the 40 y.o. version suffered from its cap and tasted very metallic – a very sad end for such a dram – unscorable, but one could still grasp that it was a fantastic whisky. However the 45 y.o. was fine and resembled just to a trip in a glass because it kept changing. Being softly sherried, cookie-like, maritime and immensely salty, this has quite some distillery character at its core. Pepper, fine discrete oak (after 45 years!), sandal wood, and toffee are joined by many nutty elements (coconuts, walnuts, macadamia and peanuts) and some fruit (passionfruit, melon). On the palate, all aromas from above are wrapped in old sherry and show off their balance, the finish reverberates this but is a bit on the short side. Historically and experience-wise great, but not as great as the 35, 25 or 30 y.o. Millenium Editions (in this order).

Score: 89


Lochside 44 y.o. The Coopers Choice 1967 – 2011, Single Malt Whisky, Sherry Butt 802, 320 btl., 41,1%

Comment: There is another version around with 41,5% (Cask 807), both reputed as okayish, but not great. Let’s check that: Cask 802 has a very fresh, clean and citrus-oriented nose at first, almost Riesling-like. What’s amazing again is: after all these years there is such discrete wood influence (dark wet wood, but no obvious sherry notes) but huge focus on distillery character. We also have big grapefruit, gooseberries, cassis, apricots, marzipan, milkshake-flavour and nice flowers in spring. It lacks power in the mouth, that is the only downside, but I can forgive that due to this fragile profile. The finish is longer than one would expect and underscores the elegance of this dram.

Score: 91-


BenRiach 40 y.o. OB 1971 – 2011, Cask 1947 (Batch #8), 229 btl., 49,8%

Comment: I only had a tiny amount of 1,2 cl to taste but it was enough to say that this bottling has everything what makes old BenRiachs special: cristalline fruit, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit, pineapple, vanilla, unobtrusive wood and a sightly herbal edge. Aaaaahhh!

Score: 92-





For Easter, I have packed Auchentoshan 1957, White Bowmore, Ardbeg cask samples from 1975 and 1998 OB, some great wines and more – stay tuned and have a bunny-good time!

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