Springbank’s peatier expression Longrow has been releasing its ‘Red’ series since 2012. These focus on wine maturation/finishing, specifically, and in no surprise to anyone, red wines. To date, we’ve had smoky Longrow whiskies matured and/or finished in casks which have held Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Port, Pinot Noir, and most recently Malbec.
Today, we’ll take a look at the 2015 bottling, a 12 year old which has been matured in ex-bourbon casks for 11 years and then received a finish in Pinot Noir casks for an additional year. It was a release of 9000 bottles and comes at a healthy 52.9% ABV.
Nose: Sweet and musky. To begin with we’re mixing up red berries (cranberries in particular) and wet earthy notes – soils, damp hay, dunnage warehouses. The supporting act comes in the form of a real musky leather – it really is quite sweaty. Trademark Longrow oily/pungent smoke is present too, but on the down-low compared to some bottlings I’ve tried. Water brings out more of the fruity aromas and moves away from the earthy and musky notes.
Taste: More lively than the nose and less ‘changing room’. Orange peels and raspberries comes together with a real malty core and some leather (fresher this time). The Pinot Noir influence comes through fairly pronounced now with the full gamut of winey notes and some heavy tannins alongside this. Smoke is less pungent than you might expect and more burnt wood embers and smouldering tobacco leaves.
Finish: Medium, smoky and with some light white pepper.
I rather like Longrow Red Fresh Pinot Noir cask – but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you didn’t. I’m sure this is polarising whisky. On the one hand the musky leather is both a very unusual and interesting note, on the other, its evocation is as far from beautiful green rolling hills, or endless fields of golden barley as you can get. The trademark Longrow oily, dirty and pungent peat is less prominent than in other bottlings, but still present enough to provide additional character to this rather bold expression.
But don't take our word for it..
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