Young & Spritely is a suitable place to start, with Cask No. 26.139: Foie GRRRRRRAAAAAAS! a classic example of this flavour profile. It’s a vibrant 8-year-old dram with lemon, fruit sorbets and lime leaf that’s guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away and say hello to spring.
I’m also getting serious springtime vibes from this month’s Juicy, Oak & Vanilla offerings. Cask No. 2.116: Bees in a pod smells to me like the world is waking up after a dark sleepy winter, with cherry blossom and gorse flowers along with loads of honey, pineapple and coconut bringing colour and zest from its first-fill bourbon barrel, along with deeper notes of leafy tobacco and caramelised pears in cognac.
Cask No. 72.86: A bed of roses is also from a first-fill bourbon barrel and transported the Tasting Panel to a fruit tree garden of pears, plums and peaches all in spring blossom.
Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits doesn’t sound like the obvious flavour profile to evoke that sunny spring feeling, but Cask No. 134.8: Spice up your life! is a burst of Goan sunshine in your glass, bringing to mind spice markets, exotic fruits and vivid colours alongside wild roses, jasmine, bergamot and frangipani leaves. It’s perfect to bring you that little bit closer to the warmth and heat of summer.
Cask No. 7.237: Nutty by nature is also from our Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile, but in this case its first-fill sherry butt evokes the springtime sunshine of Andalucia. It stopped us in our tracks to linger over its aromas of walnuts, macadamia, toasted almonds, dark chocolate marzipan and Demerara sugar, while a drop of water brings out the freshness of a Waldorf salad. This one shows me that what you might initially perceive to be more of a wintertime flavour profile actually applies all year round – you just need to find your own memories that are more appropriate to the time of year and it all seems to fit together.
Even our Oily & Coastal flavour profile can conjure up a slice of springtime – Cask No. 10.191: Oh so sumptuous! is a seasidey dram, with the feeling of a cooling breeze as you venture out on a bracing coastal walk in March. This one has lots of coconut, honey and citrus and exudes vitality. Stick some in your hipflask, and for good measure take a second one with you with a drop of Cask No. 93.132: Burnt berries and scorched cherries for its notes of rock pools, raspberries and even the fresh mintiness of a mojito cocktail. It comes from our Lightly Peated flavour profile, which we don’t see that often, but Cask No. 135.18: Bellissimo! is from the same category. We’ve given this one an additional two years of maturation in a first-fill charred red wine barrique, which swept the Panel off to northern Italy and memories of Barolo Chinato, Riserva Vermouth, crumbly Castelmagno cheese, dried fruit flavours and an earthiness in the finish. Delicious and truly evocative of a different region’s sunshine.
Of course, spring has its variations wherever you are in the world, but we can all take inspiration from the Japanese festival of hanami, the celebration of the cherry blossoms that bloom throughout the country to signal the end of winter. Even on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile I look out for the appearance of the cherry blossoms on the trees outside the Canongate Kirk as they swirl around the street. They’re here today, gone tomorrow, reminding me to stop and savour their beauty – as ephemeral as a one-off Society bottling that you hate to see disappear too soon. Take time to savour the moment, and the gifts that nature brings us.