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Friday, 15 August 2014

Merry Christmas from Springbank. In August! : Spirit Of Freedom 30 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky

It is yet another Friday on the global procession towards Christmas. For those of you who work in or around retail, you’ll be aware that around this time business start to propose their Xmas line ups to the world, in preparation for those magazines who need a good long run up at events such as this.

Thankfully, running a website means that we don’t have to write about anything until the very last moment it is required- but our other print outlets in the media, such as magazines and books, do require a fair amount of notice, so it is nice to see the odd email popping into our inbox with a nod in the direction to how we can help you spend your gifting pounds in December and I’m sure you’ll hear more about those from us, on here (and other places) when the chill reality sets in and the snow begins to fall.

However, in with some of the more Christmas-facing press releases and emails, there are often ones about products which have suddenly, without warning, appeared on a shelf somewhere. Traditionally a silly season for news (of all kinds- John Lennon 40 Year Old Scotch whisky anyone?!) it can often be hard to pick out the good from the bad, or the good from the mad.

Here at we do receive press samples for review, sometimes for this site, sometime for books we are writing, or contributing to, and sometimes for articles we may be writing elsewhere or discussions we might be involve in. And of course we also buy booze- lots of it. A fair amount of brandy, gin, absinthe, rum, aquavit and other great potables were purchased as research (yes, research...) for our forthcoming book, but nothing gets us more excited, our wallets out faster, than an exciting new whisky purchase.

And last week that is exactly what happened, when I heard about a new release from J & A Mitchell, the chaps behind Springbank Distillery and Wm Cadenheads, when they announced a very limited edition (2014 bottles) 30 Year Old blended Scotch whisky.

All apparently exactly 30 years old (so all from 1984) and constructed from 75% malt and 25% grain, the chaps down in Campbeltown are known for having some exceptional old casks hidden away. So, what price on this 30 year old Scotch... just £75. Yeah, £75.

Spirit of Freedom – 30 Years Old - Blended Scotch Whisky – 2014 bottles only - 46% abv – 70cl - £72.95 here and £74.20 here

Nose: A strong vanilla and fennel note rises with a butter back bone and just a delicate hint of smoke. Walnuts and honey mix well, to give some sandlewood. Peaches and green apple too and a hint of pine. Sea salt. This smells like a blend of old- those great value ones from the 1970’s and 1980’s you can pick up for such great value at auction sites nowadays.

Palate:  Very, very drinkable at its bottled strength, it sits on the palate with a good dollop of oil and pineapple juice. A hint of coal dust in the background, gives a great foundation to tropical fruits and big butterscotch from the grain. A classic blend.

Finish: Oddly, probably the best bit (quite a feat given the nose and palate) with juicy fruit tropical chewing gum, more pineapple, honey, syrup and cinnamon spices with just a hint of that coal dust again.

Overall: For £75 you just can’t go wrong. Not at all.

At this price, you can drink this neat by the fireside, in preparation for Christmas, or you can run headlong in the opposite direction and, while there is still some sunshine left in the sky, dodge the gathering clouds, head out to your garden and drink this in a simply stunning highball.

What, with a 30 year old blended Scotch whisky?” I hear you cry?!

Yup. With a 30 year old blended Scotch whisky. Happy Christmas!