Released together and sold as a pair alongside Edition 59A, Pride of Sponge (59B) shares almost identical stats to its Cream sibling – 1993 distillation, 28 years in a refill hogshead and bottling at cask strength. However, this release clocks in a slightly higher ABV (and with 23 more bottles produced) and does indeed offer notable profile differences to its mystery partner. It is still available alongside Cream of Sponge as a pair via Decadent Drinks for £300.
Nose: Sharp and tart green apples together with gooseberries, lychee and asides of mandarin peel. Sheened oak joins a spoon of lemon curd whilst golden barley develops into French Crepes and freshly baked bread. Dilution moves things toward yellow fruits with quince and Mirabelle joining the party alongside tart cases and a glug of fruit syrup.
Taste: The arrival is soft wax and ink – not quite church taper, but not all oils and greases either. Cooking apples and crystalline lemon join orange zest, greengage and after a time – stewed rhubarb. Alpen (sans milk) and green tea give way to back palate minerality with chalkiness. Water results in a juxtaposition of sweet, sour and bitter – I’d add it sparingly. Machine oils and ink come to the fore texturally whilst teak polish sits with assorted green and yellow fruits that start bright and sugary, but after souring end slightly astringently.
Finish: Medium with white fruits lingering alongside floral saffron strands.
The refill cask utilised for Pride of Sponge feels like it has given just a little bit more over its 28 years than the one used for its Cream of Sponge sibling. Here the fruit-driven distillate is both brighter and better defined. Nevertheless, the cask is still fairly light touch and the result sits on the easy drinking side of the dramming spectrum.
Review sample provided by Decadent Drinks