The Campbeltown tasting at Regional Wines

Posted by John Shearlock on

There’s just something about Campbeltown isn't there.

Sandwiched between the Lowlands and Islay, it seemingly brings together something from both these regions whilst still retaining an individuality and personality that you seldom meet in the world of whisky.

Typically it takes us on a maritime journey of subtle salt and peat that speaks of the Islands - only then to deliver back to earth with notes of dunnage and floor-malted barley.

At Springbank, long ferments and a complex distillation regime involving partial triple distillation and a worm tub complete the puzzle, bringing us into the contradictory realms of light yet heavy malt that pleasantly bamboozles the mind and palate.

These whiskies have long held a special place in the hearts of whisky lovers, and despite being the go to for savvy collectors, they have generally been available to consume and enjoy. But with the current craze for whisky, with demand outstripping supply and with a surge in the popularity of alternative investment strategies - these whiskies now inhabit a different realm. These whiskies don’t get drunk, they get collected - and the current Local Barley (released merely months ago), already fetches a vastly inflated price on the secondary market.

So it was great to have a chance to open a few of these ‘collectibles’ and put them through their paces with a bunch of eager tasters at Regional Wines this month.

It was a stunning lineup courtesy of Springbank, Kilkerran and Glen Scotia - with old faves such as the Springbank 15 and Longrow Red joining forces with the feisty, new, cask strength releases from Kilkerran. The illusive Local Barley even made an appearance.

There were some lovely little comparisons to be had - and some lessons to be learnt. The standard Springbank 10 year old next to the Local Barley 10 which showed us that cask strength isn’t everything, whilst the Kilkerran Port Cask alongside the Longrow Red 15 taught us the importance of age.

Below you can see how the collective palate found the whiskies over the two night tasting, and the results are intriguing (if you're into scoring). In the name of impartiality, I will leave you to make your own deductions, but obviously - collectibility is only one facet of whisky!

Springbank 10yo 46% 700ml 7.58
Mystery Whisky - Glen Scotia 16yo 7.85
Springbank Local Barley 10yo 51.6% 7.17
Springbank 15yo 46% 700ml 8.34
Kilkerran 'Port Cask Matured' 8yo 57.9% 7.39
Longrow Red 15yo 51.4% 8.83
Kilkerran 'Sherry Cask Matured' 8yo 58% 8.77

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