Straw/honey color. Light to medium weight, with a slightly oily texture. Shy on the nose, but makes up for it on the finish. Fresh brine, toasted coconut, bright citrus fruit, and subtle mint on a bed of vanilla cream and honeyed malt. The peat smoke is restrained on the nose, but is more assertive on the palate, and it really kicks in on the finish, which is briny, smoky, appetizing, and long. The best Longrow since the 1974 vintage. If it would only just open up a little more on the nose it would challenge the best from ‘73 and ‘74. (Only 120 bottles for the U.S.)
Gold color. Peaty, smoky, mature aromas, with notes of damp earth, pencil shavings, seaweed, brine, and vanilla. Oily, viscous body. Flavors are similar to its aroma, with a spicy, salty, black pepper, dryish finish.
This limited release was matured in 60% refill sherry butts and 40% fresh bourbon barrels. Initially sweet vanilla and ripe apple notes on the nose, giving way to chimney soot and dry peat. The palate is very full and oily, with honey and vanilla merging with smoked haddock, charcuterie, and more overt peat. Licorice, coffee beans, brine, chili, and peppery peat in the lengthy finish. (4,500 bottles)
This 11 year old bottling of Longrow from Springbank distillery was matured for seven years in refill bourbon casks before being filled into cabernet sauvignon hogsheads for a final four years. 9,000 bottles are available. The nose offers buttery smoked haddock, coal tar soap, citrus fruit, and new leather, with background notes of soft peat. Mouth coating, with rich peat on the palate, plus fruity spice and developing licorice notes. Long in the finish, with persistent peat smoke and, finally, red currants. £50
The latest incarnation of Springbank’s Longrow Red matured for 11 years in port casks before being bottled at cask strength. The nose is sweet, with cherries, caramel, new leather, chewing tobacco, and soft peat. Voluptuous in the mouth, with a palate of rich peat, summer berries, and toffee apples, with growing spice notes, and light oak. Lengthy in the finish, with cinnamon, peat, sweet oak, and red berries.
The stocks of the “new era” Longrow keep getting older (and better). A pleasingly sweet foundation of burnt caramel, vanilla fudge, and toffeed nuts is challenged by earthy peat, tar, damp barnyard, and brine. Earthy, smoky finish. A nice whisky with great potential, but still needs a few more years.
A combination of 6, 10, and 14 year old Longrow. I was concerned that there would be too much young whisky in here (like there was with the Springbank C.V. several years ago), but this isn’t the case. Youthful? Yes. Immature? No. A Longrow with an attitude. Creamy, sweeter vanilla notes up front, with kiln smoke, sea-soaked stone, tar, anise, chocolate fudge, and apricot. I would like to see more of the older whisky in here, because it leans towards the young side, but it is still a vibrant, enjoyable whisky.
This peated expression of Springbank is fresh, powerful, and unbridled. A brief, gristy, sweet malt intro quickly becomes quite aggressive, with an attack of tar, damp peat, kippers, mustard seed, Spanish olives, and Poire Williams. The sweetness emerges again briefly, before succumbing to an assertive, fiery finish.
Grape candy, raisin, blueberries, vanilla malt, and lavender, with hints of lemon and spearmint. More aggressive campfire embers and damp earth burn underneath, along with some salt. A whisky that grows on you, and not bad for 7 years old.
I have tasted many superb Longrow whiskies in the past 15 years (not to mention some wonderful Tokaji dessert wines). This isn’t one of them. Longrow is an assertive whisky, and I can see the logic of finishing the whisky in an equally big Hungarian wine. The flavors are equal in intensity -- and this is certainly a dynamic whisky -- but they just don’t integrate well. You’ll find notes of waxed fruit, raisin, ripe barley, smoked fig, and toffee. Cloying, waxy finish.