Review: Springbank 40 y.o. Chieftain’s 1968 Oloroso Butt

On the weekend, the old 21 y.o. dumpy Springbank parchment label (silver-red box) impressed the crowd. These old Campbeltown malts are monsters in terms of complexity yet very intellectual and demanding. As a follow-up, I am going to taste the 1968 Chieftain’s edition as a 40 y.o. today, one of the Dream Drams at the Whisky Show. Many Chieftain’s Springers from that period were good to great (very peachy), but never stellar. Let’s hope this one makes a difference due to its crazy prize tag around 1.000 Euro (earlier releases cost a fifth of that):


Springbank 40 y.o. Chieftain’s (Ian Macleod) 1968 – Oct. 2008, Oloroso Butt 1414, 398 btl., 54%

Nose: Quite typical, spicy (sea salt, pepper, this one has a Talisker-esque catch) and maritime. A lot of nutty aromas (hazelnut, coconut, almonds), sherry, Serrano ham, melon, wild strawberries, canned peaches, toffee, vanilla and oaky tannins.

Palate: Again on the spicy and woody side, but not going over board with this profile. The notes from above become clearer once you add water, which I recommend, it really levels things out here and renders greater balance.

Finish: Without water it finishes a bit too dry, but H2O makes this really good stuff. It is in line with the Chieftain’s releases of the past. So go for four or five of those instead of this one, I’d say.

Score: 91-

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