Archive for the ‘Springbank (Longrow)’ Category

Cadenheads ‘Bond Reserve’ Longrow 1996 (10 year old) 59.4%

Sherry/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2006/ Tasted: Sept 2007

Nose = Sulphurous sherry cask. What more can you say! Palate = Sulphur and sherry fruit. Distinctly unappealing. Finish = Sulphur (surprise!!). Absolutely dreadful whoever bottled this cask should be ashamed!

Cadenhead’s Longrow 13 year old 55%

Bourbon/ Tasted: July 2012

The nose is Intense, pungent and fishy. Cod liver oil mixed with earthy peat and a touch of medicinal iodine. It could almost be an Islay, in fact it reminds of Bowmore in its fishy guise! Really complex with hints of kerosene, coal dust, brine and light apricot. Very pleasant, Water makes the aromas cleaner and less peaty but still fishy! Some juicy orange is now released. 

The palateis dry and a touch on the alcoholic side. Earthy and smoky with plenty of peat, tar, light toffee and salt. A drop of water makes the palate fuller and fruitier by softening the alcohol. The peat is less intense but it’s still quite robust and mouth-filling. A reasonable length with a return of the medicinal notes and a dry, slightly bitter ending. Dilution lengthens and makes the finish a lot sweeter. It now shows a touch of parma violets and gentle smoke although the oak still bitters slightly. Conclusion: Wonderfully complex and intense, could only be Longrow (delete that if I’m wrong!)




Longrow CV 46%

Tasted June 2008

The CV stands for Curriculum Vitae for some reason! The story with this new bottling is that while Frank McHardy and Stuart Robertson were working on the Longrow Gaja, they noticed that the younger Longrow casks were displaying lots more peat/smoke than they were getting from the 10 year old. They wanted the opportunity to play around with vatting young longrow with older stuff to maximise these flavours and this is the end result. Thus it follows a path similar to things like the Bruichladdich 3D3 and the Isle of Jura Superstition.

The aromas begin with a sooty, earthy peat note, which to me is classic Longrow. Its quiet phenolic and briny. It’s the peatiest Longrow I’ve come across, however in saying that it is definitely not monstrous. There is a definite, rounded, mature toffee, butter and marzipan core over which the crisp, youthful apricot, orange and barley sore. This is exquisitely balanced.

The palate follows the nose in opening with the sooty, earthy peat followed by sweet barley, malt and mellow, mature fruit, brine and spice. It builds into a lovely smoky middle and finishes with a tangy/ fresh coastal finish – pure sea salt and a late peppery bite.

I was thinking that they should do the same with Springbank as the current 10 year old is quiet disappointing and as we know it doesn’t really start to become anything like a classic until the spirit is into its teens. However I doubt that it will happen due to the fact that more money can be made from bottling older sprirt on its own.

Longrow CV 46%

Re-Tasted Dec 2011

The nose opens with sweet heather and dusty peat along with hints of burnt wood, decomposing vegetation and manure. Yeah, that’s good! Bracingly coastal with a seriously chlorinated, fishy hit. However all that is balanced superbly by the barley sweetness. By far and away the most successful of the CV bottlings.

The most noticeable thing about this spirit in the mouth is the enormity of the weight. Full and malty and seriously chewy, just like chowing down on burnt coastal wood splinters, liberally sprinkled with pepper and dry, dusty, violety tinged peat. Short, sharp and very, very intense. After chewing on wood the mouth dries up under the coastal onslaught. Ok it can be argued that it is a bit one-dimensional, but it delivers that one dimension so well.

Longrow No Age Statement 46%

Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Soft and fruity. A cornucopia of orange, lime, pineapple and apricot liberally sprinkled with coastal notes and light spice. A lovely depth with some lightly creamy oak and late notes of fish and briny-peat.

Palate: Soft and broad with the creamy oak making quite a statement of intent. Lightly fruity with hints of earthy-peat and building brine.

Finish: Very long the fruit eventually evading the oaky grip.

Conclusion: A wonderfully fruity nose but it’s the oak that dominates the palate a bit too much. Wonderful depth though.

Longrow No Age Statement 46%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2013

Nose: A lovely nose of soft, sooty peat with hints of earth, violets and a touch of brine. Lovely depth with some pleasantly sugared fruit and a touch of fishiness.

Palate: Opens with some slightly sweet barley and gentle peat dust. Good intensity and depth with a touch of brine, violets and soft spices.

Finish: An excellent finish. Very back end loaded with the peat becoming increasingly oily in character with hints of tar and that peat lingering.

Conclusion: Very enjoyable, with the complexity of peat flavours really showing on the finish.

Longrow No Age Statement 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: A beautiful nose of dusty American oak, sweet barley and buoyant sub-tropical pineapple, banana and lashing of sweet spice. Slightly salty and fishy with a whiff of dry peat and the barley taking on a lovely castor sugar coating.

Palate: Full and gently peated, opening with the sugar coated barley and fleshy apricot, apple and banana. The brine comes through on the middle bringing some delightful grainy spices notes too.

Finish: Good, oily finish with the peat sweetening and a touch of violets evident. Lovely lingering saltiness.

Conclusion: A lovely, lightly peated Campbeltown showing definite signs of maturity (Longrow 18? – tasted blind)

Longrow No Age Statement 46%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2015

Astringent, fishy, earthy and peaty aromas with that distinctive Springbank woody/ gritty character. Hints of violets and coffee coms through. It feels a lot younger than the last time I tasted it.

Intense and oily on the palate with gritty oak, violets and dusty, earthy but sweet peat. Extremely salty on the middle and a little bittering from the oak but the sweetness of the malt counters. The saltiness lingers right through to the end. Superb finish

Longrow No Age Statement 46%

Re-Tasted: Mar 2017

The nose is quite coastal and briny with a lovely combination of medicinal and dusty peat. Heavily oiled apricot and pineapple follow, along with hints of violets, smoke, malt and sweet barley. The spirit feels older than previous bottlings.

The palate is subtler on the peat front, but still quite malty, fishy and full. Hints of coffee, tar and salt. It becomes spicy and almost treacly rich on the middle. The peat really hits home on the finish but a lovely barley sweetness sits beneath. Lingering malt and salt.

Longrow 7 year old ‘Gaia Barolo Expression’ 55.5%

5 ½ years in Refill Bourbon/ 11/2 years in fresh Barolo cask

Dist: Oct 2000 Btl: Jan 2008/ Tasted: Nov 2008

An intense, wine infused nose collides with rubbery peat and sweet, ripe, dried fruit, coffee, cocoa. The big, grapey nuances float amidst the smoky sweet peaty morass. It has an almost sherry tinged sweetness along with the classic earthy-Longrow earthiness. I can only describe the palate as Amarone meets whisky in a head on collision. It’s intense and taste bud pummelling with sweet, dried fruits, smoky earthy-peat and a sharp graininess. Intense is not the word. It finishes with a smoky/ winey bbq like after taste.

Water emphasises the sweetness of the fruit and peat. Bringing out notes of dunnage floors, slightly medicinal peat, rubber, fish and salt. On the palate the water makes the wineyness less intense and now adds a beguiling sweetness to the full on peatiness. It also emphasises the natural oils amid the layers of sweet, woody fruit and earthy-peat. The finish is chewy with lip smacking dried fruits and leaves a gentle, lingering peat note on the tongue. Your taste buds will not know what has hit them!

Longrow 8 year old ‘Springbank Society Bottling’ 59.9%

Refill Sherry Butt/ Dist: Feb 1997 Btl: July 2005/ Tasted: Dec 2005

A pungent nose of earthy peat smoke and orange fruit. Quite wheaty with sweet sherry fruit. Fresh and crisp on the palate with dry almost delicate peat and plenty of wood tannins. The smoke and peat builds to a mouth watering crescendo. Good length with the sherried, earthy fruit coming to the fore once the alcohol has passed. Good length.

Longrow 10 year old 46%

Tasted: 2004

A pungent nose of peat smoke and subtle tar notes. The palate is dominated by its peaty character yet has a delicate vanilla sweetness with an intense peaty, smoky finish.

Longrow Red 11 year old 51.8%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Earthy and dusty red winey currant/cherry. Lightly butyric with plenty of intense woody, coffee’d tannins. A touch of fishy peat appears along with coastal notes. Water emphasises the maderised dried fruit and coffee

Palate: Soft an again slightly butyric with red winey cherry, and menthol notes. Coffee’d tannins come through on the middle along with the peat and a slight sulphur blemish. Dilution makes it sweeter with more emphasis on the red fruit, but it also emphasises the metallic blemish.

Finish: Long and butyric with hints of marzipan.

Conclusion: Another mad Italian red wine (Barolo or Amarone) finished Springbank! As much as I love it the slight blemish brings the score down.

Longrow Red 11 year old 51.8%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2015

Nose: Quite sulphur tainted with hints of dried fruit and smoke. Maybe there are hints of manure and winey fruit notes but it’s far too tainted.

Palate: Soft red wine notes and dried fruit, liquorice and treacle, but like the nose heavily blemished.

Finish: Bitter and sulphured

Longrow ‘Rundlets & Kilderkins’ 11 year old 51.7%

Dist: Nov 2001 Btl: Jan 2013/ Tasted: May 2013

What a nose! Pungent and earthy with plenty of fishy, briny-peat. Even though it has been aged in very small (50 and 80 litre) sherry casks the earthy, sherry richness is kept firmly in check by its salinity. Very complex with hints of crystallised orange marmalade, bog myrtle, manure and peat smoke.

The palate is surprisingly gentle. Chocolaty sherry notes mingle with earthy manure-peat, fish and brine. The tannins and alcohol build towards the middle but the sheer weight of dried fruit keeps the alcohol in its place. The tannins morph into a lovely dusty, cocoa powder character and a lovely burst of salinity, freshens and cleanses the palate leaving a beautiful sherrywood fade with hints of violets within the all encompassing chocolaty richness. Another stunning bottling from Springbank.

Longrow 12 year old  ‘Springbank Society Bottling’ 57.6%

Tasted: Dec 2009

According to the label this has been matured in ex-Fino casks but the colour is way too dark for that to be true.

Well, one sniff and it screams Oloroso sherry. Big, leafy, faintly medicinal with a slight sulphur blemish. The alcohol makes it prickly, and some late liquorice and an astringent briny note appears. The palate follows the same pattern – Oloroso sherry, followed by a big hole due to the intrusive alcohol and finishing with liquorice, spice, a touch of peat and a distinct plastic note.

Water doesn’t help much. It makes the nose even leafier, but the palate falls over into a sulphurous, watery mess! I think the chairman of the committee needs sacking for choosing this one!

Longrow Red 12 year old (2015 Release) 52.9%

12 months finishing in ex-Pinot Noir casks

Tasted: Aug 2015

Aromas of woody, earthy peat, manure and fish with chunky, winey red fruit and yet more manure! Some classic gritty but soft tannins can be detected along with hints of parma violets, sweet peat and raisins. A lovely, natural nose!

The palate is quite woody and tannic, opening with redcurrant/ cherry fruit. Lightly salted with hints of parma violets, fish oils, dry, dusty peat, soil and earth. Seriously intense, mouth-watering and tannic but the juicy red fruits counter. What a rush the finish is! A vibrant cacophony of coffee’d tannins, parma violets and primal peat. Breath-taking stuff!

With water the nose becomes sweeter with more of the Pinot fruits showing. Less tannic but still wonderfully rustic. The palate is very much the same, still quite tannic but the sweet fruit just about balances it. Very fishy after-taste now.

Longrow Red 13 year old (Malbec) 51.3%

12 year in ex-Bourbon, 15 months finishing in ex-Malbec casks/ Tasted: May 2017

Primal, manurey and stinky with plenty of peat, chunky malt and a touch of black fruit and straw. The peat has a lovely complexity of character. Tarry peat mingles with spicy peat, chocolaty peat and slightly medicinal peat. With time the American oak comes through along with some warming spice notes.

The palate opens with the black/ red fruit, straw, and treacle. Slowly the oozing, primal, tarry peat appears along with some medicinal herbal notes and salt. Very astringent middle and a long, salt encrusted finish with gritty peat dust, cocoa, violets and medicinal notes. And, more salt for good measure!

Longrow 14 year old 46%

Tasted: Nov 2005

Clean, maturing nose with a youthful edge. Intense earthy/ medicinal, clean peat, waxy citrus fruits, shortbread/ pastry/ dough and a minty, fresh note. Dry, medium bodied, intense earthy/ loamy-peat, citrus fruit and loads of ginger and spicy chilli on the middle. Very long and complex with the different flavours wafting in on the finish – charcoal, smoke, mint, toffee and a slight saltiness. Superb dry/ sweet balance. Sublime.

Longrow 14 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2014

A lovely, clean and full nose of soft barley, citrus, salt and earthy peat. Slightly medicinal with hints of tar, sweet/ dusty violets and oak. With time it becomes very briny and lightly phenolic.

The palate is quite full, opening with the juicy barley, citrus, apricot and light honey. Very intense middle with the brine and earthy peat building. Buckets of sweet/ dusty parma violets follow. Very long with a gentle medicinal and briny fade. Beautifully balanced with a linger sweet barley after-tatste.

Longrow 1997 (14 year old) ‘Burgundy Wood’ 56.1%

Aged 11 years in re fill Bourbon and 3 years in freshBurgundycasks – 7800 bottles

Dist: Feb 1997 Btl: Oct 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

A hugely coastal infused grapey nose. Slightly straw dried yet perfumed red berry aromas mingle with the earthy, slightly vegetal peat. The middle opens to display clove studded orange, rich, slightly singed toffee, camphor along with medicinal and cough sweet hints. Very deep and dense and as is often the case with wine finished longrow’s there is a touch of butyricness, but to me it just adds to the madness and complexity!

Very intense and alcoholic on the palate. The palate opens with some serious wood notes – coffee, treacle, bitter, dark chocolate and dry tannins followed by some luscious ripe red fruit, spice, vegetal peat and just like the nose a slight butyric note. Quite oily and spicy with an eye watering hit of alcohol on the middle. Very long with sweet, but dry smoky finish.

A drop of water brings out rich aromas of coffee laced clotted-cream with redcurrant jelly. In fact it has an almost sherried richness with some wonderfully dusty, muscavado sugared moments. Still huge and enveloping with the peat showing a slightly more phenolic side. The palate has become a wonderful mouth filling melange of muscavado sugar coated sweet red fruit, coffee, toffee and molasses-like malt. The coastal intensity is still there and lightens the palate leaving a gently peated finish. Stunning!

Longrow 18 year old 46%

Bourbon/ Tasted: 2012

Quite a crisp and briny nose for a Longrow. Gentle parma violets, ozone and lightly medicinal peat emerge but the aromas are exceedingly subtle. Very fresh with hints of sweet barley, vanilla custard, marshmallow and oodles of salt. With time a slightly woody note does become apparent.

The palate is again pretty subtle and lightly oiled, opening with the lightly creamy oak, barley and hints of peat dust. The building salinity makes for a very fresh middle and it finishes with some light oily tar, creosote and sweet violet mingling with the salt, but the salt holds for a lovely fresh after-taste.

Longrow 18 year old 46%

Batch 13/184

Tasted: Sept 2014

An intense and briny nose with plenty of parma violets and coffee’d peat. Hints of apricot, dusty barley, mocha, earth and unsweetened toffee. More robust than the last time I tasted it. With time a touch of tar, creosote and pure, slightly bitter black coffee aromas appear.

The palate is full and juicy, opening with sweet barley, apricot and parma violets, followed by earthy, dusty peat. Seriously, mouth-watering, briny middle leads to a long, coffee, tar and fish oils finish. The juiciness of malt returns and although the finish is salt encrusted the fruit lingers. Not overly smoky, but the peat has a lovely coastal character.

Longrow 18 year old 46% (2015 Release)

Tasted: Aug 2015

Lightly woody and fishy aromas with distinct oily Springbank fruit. Plenty of parma violets and hints of sweet vanilla, greengage, lime and dry, earthy peat. Rounded and deep with a fair amount of oak but it’s beautifully mature and held in check by its salinity.

Full on the palate with sweet apricot, apple and banana along with some light wood tannins and earthy peat. Like the nose suggest there is a good degree of oak on the middle with building salinity. Long and gently peated with lingering brine, parma violets and sweet oak. I would guess there is a fair amount of first fill American oak here as it gives the palate a lovely, elegant, vanilla sheen and coats the grittier peat and tannins. Finishes with some oily/ fishy notes.

Longrow 18 year old (2017 Release) 46%

60% Refill Sherry, 40% Fresh Bourbon/ Tasted: May 2017

Aromas of mature, baked fruit with dusty, cinnamon coated peat and subtle medicinal notes. The Bourbon oak is quite prominent, but the subtle sherry adds that lovely Springer grittiness. Beautifully balanced with malt, citrus, apricot and salt. With time there’s a touch of violets and sherried dried fruit.

The palate is crisp, fresh and salty with wonderfully mature, medicinal peat. Gently phenolic with baked fruit and some chocolaty sherry wood tannins, but the supple American oak balances. Juicy and lightly oiled middle with hints of malt. Long and very salty with an echo of dusty peat, violets and fish.