Since 1973, Springbank have been producing Longrow, their heavily peated expression that harks back to the early 19th Century when Campbeltown malts where naturally very smoky – and a key component in the blends of the day. Peated to around 50-55PPM, Longrow takes around 10% of Springbank’s annual production time (unpeated, triple distilled Hazelburn another 10% since 1997). Longrow CV was first released in 2008, and in 2010 won both the best ‘Campbeltown NAS whisky’ at the World Whisky Awards as well as ‘Best Peated Malt’ (Daily Drams) at the Malt Maniacs awards. It’s a well-loved favourite in many circles.
Longrow CV is a vatting of four whiskies: 6 year old ex-bourbon, 10 year old ex-port and ex-rum, and 14 year old ex-sherry. It’s bottled at 46% and is non-chill filtered – indeed it’s a wee bit cloudy. Whilst technically discontinued, ‘Longrow Peated’ introduced in 2012 is virtually the CV in newly branded clothes, so you can still have your fill of Springbank’s heavily peated whisky in a relatively affordable NAS form. Both the CV and the Peated version of Longrow showcase the distillery’s heavier style excellently.
Nose: Fruity, smoky and quite mineral. Commencing with a rich citrus vein, CV moves swiftly in coastal tinged rocks – shale, chalk and a touch of salinity. This is tempered by some juicy fruitiness in the form of stone fruits. Smoke is pungent, ashy and reminiscent of embers of a long burnt out fire. After a short period of resting, fruits intensify and bring along with them some underlying earthiness.
Taste: An excellent translation from nose to mouth – with additional sweetness along for the ride. Fruits, minerals and smoke are all still present and now joined by limes, grapefruit and some light touches of berries. The peat is quite drying now, sharp, tangy and earthy with a touch of medicinalness.
Finish: Medium to long, with lovely zesty citrus, drying smoke and touches of light sappy wood.
Longrow CV is a really well composed whisky. It’s not shy, offering powerful full flavour, but everything feels like it’s in the right place and in the right quantities – some excellent cask selection and vatting going on here. Smoke is ever-present, coastal and mineral, but is tempered wonderfully by fruity sweetness to just the right level. Very tasty stuff and highly evocative of the distillery’s heavily peated style. The Longrow Peated (kinda replacement) is very available at £38.44 from Master of Malt, and at that price I’d highly recommend it as worth exploring.