Springbank 10 Year Old Palo Cortado Finish


I know I'm well behind the curve on this release, I mean it was only released 6 months ago after all. But hey, better late than never eh? This is the second release in the experimental sherry cask releases from Springbank. To see my thoughts on the first release head over to Dramface. Suffice to say it didn't blow me away with the PX kind of pummelling the distillate into submission with its sticky sweet raisin juice.

Of all the releases announced it was probably the Palo Cortado finish that intrigued me the most especially with Dunville's utilising it so well in their VR range. I know they are completely different styles of whisky but Palo Cortado doesn't seem to have the same heavy handedness that some Oloroso and PX casks can have. It just seems to play nice with malt.

So what is Palo Cortado I here you ask? Palo Cortado starts off life aging under a flor. Flor is a thin layer of yeast cells that forms over biologically aged sherry wines thus on it's way to becoming a Fino or Amontillado sherry. However, during the process the flor disintegrates and the sherry ages oxidatively (as in it now has contact with oxygen) such as Oloroso or Pedro Ximinez. This means Palo Cortado will display some of the richness and sweetness of the Oloroso or PX but also have the nuttiness and crispness of a Fino or Amontillado.

That said I do love an Amontillado sherry and it's the next release in the experimental Springbank 10 year olds towards the end of this year so that's something to look forward too.

Getting back to this release then. It was distilled in 2013 and spent 6 years in bourbon barrels and then 4 years in the aforementioned Palo Cortado casks before being bottled at the now standard, for this series, 55% abv. In true Springbank form, of course it's non chill filtered and natural colour. This bottle cost me £100 from Fairley's Wines in Coleraine.

Springbank 10 Year Old Palo Cortado Finish 55% abv

Nose: Peach, dried apricot, mandarin segments, cream soda and strawberry. Coal dust and sea spray. An old library book, salted caramel, dried tea and fizzy cola bottles. Dunnage too.

Palate: Quite salty on arrival followed by toffee, orange marmalade, apricots and steamed pudding with golden syrup. Now an industrial note of soot, pencil shavings and some fresh tobacco mingled with dark chocolate and almond. There’s a nice clove and cinnamon spice sweetness before heading back to the salinity of the arrival.

Finish: Is of medium length with bright citrus, flint, golden syrup, and soot.

Score: 7 out of 10  

Overall: I was lucky enough to purchase the PX release and did the joint review with Judge Dredd himself, Whisky Rover. Surprisingly I was less taken with than he was. For me it was all about the PX and the Springbank was totally dominated. Not an awful whisky, just a one trick pony.

This release is a totally different kettle of fish! The sherry is much better integrated and provides a lovely fruitiness as well as allowing that Springbank distillate speak without being overwhelmed. The only gripe I’d have is that I think that the current core release 10 year old actually has more complexity and at essentially half the price it offers better value too. I will say that I will enjoy the rest of this bottle thoroughly though and look forward to obtaining (all being well) the next release in the 10 year old Sherry series.

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