The Curious Story of Glenkura Springbank

May 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was recently asked to evaluate a private bottling of 18-year-old Springbank by J David Simons, the Glasgow-based writer, in the company of Stephen McGinty, McTears whisky valuer. David was pondering that after taking some of the cask as a 15-year-old for himself (see label below) and the rest of his syndicate, was it time to bottle the remainder now, or let it wait a while longer? While Stephen and I got to grips with this conundrum, David explained the curious existence of Glenkura Springbank. “I actually bought the whisky with two friends when I was working as a visiting professor at a university in Japan in 1993,” David told us. ” The three of us were living in a seaside town called Kamakura which is about 50 miles south of Tokyo.  The name Kamakura in Japanese means storehouse (Kura) of the short sword (Kama). Consequently, when we were looking for a name for our whisky we decided to call it Glenkura – i.e. Glen (valley in Scots) and Kura (storehouse or perhaps distillery in Japanese).  A few years later when I was looking for a fictitious placename for my
novel, I chose Glenkura, then I put a distillery there, then I had my characters drinking Glenkura whisky.  That is how the whisky figures in the novel and also why we have Japanese lettering on the label.”

That  story he was writing  would eventually be published in 2008 as The Credit Draper, the story of a Jewish immigrant to Scotland in 1911 who sells cloth to the Hebridean communities before falling in love with a crofter girl. To precis the story a little Stephen and I both agreed that the whisky would gain nothing by remaining in cask any longer and we recommended that David bottle it now. As it stood it was an elegant and moreish ex-bourbon malt and was right on the nail at 18 years old. The result is that one of the remaining 36 bottles is being auctioned at McTears on June 6th. It will be interesting to see what it fetches.


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