Longrow Peated 46%

It has been awhile since I’ve had this Peaty no age statement whisky from Springbank – about four years ago to be exact! For those not familiar, this Campbeltown distillery has three different “brands” – their original Springbank, a mid-peat Hazelburn and their peatiest avatar Longrow.

Longrow Peated 46%

  • Nose – Medicinal, quite industrial or think of an old railway car sleeper, a baked potato cooked in a campfire, starting to become more malty, some cinnamon, then became sweeter and sweeter with a nice fruitiness peaking through, even a dash of salt
  • Palate – Initially a wee bit harsh – wakes you up! Then settles into spice and fruit, solid, chased by a smokey malty cinnamon, peppery
  • Finish – Not so much on 1st sip however by the next, you realize there is just a light peppery peat curl that remains

Reading through our tasting notes you might think, huh? But here is the thing… for me, whisky preferences are vastly influenced by environment. What works fabulously in one context may just flop in another.

What about this one?

Let me set the stage… we had just spent the day walking around the picturesque Kallmunz. I’d been there in the summer and was utterly enchanted…. the old fortress on the hill, the lake below, quaint old colourful homes  Fast forward to November… and it was the opposite! It was overcast, drizzling and frankly frigid… company was great but the weather was frankly miserable.

So when we cracked open the Longrow, all I could think is… Now THIS is the kind of whisky you want when coming in from a cold, wet day… warms you up from the inside! One of those “I’m a serious wake-up whisky”

What do the folks at Springbank have to say about their Longrow?

Longrow Peated offers those who enjoy a heavily peated whisky the chance to enjoy a lingering smoky taste that travels through the senses like the smoke billows from a kiln.

  • Nose: Very creamy, vanilla custard. The smoke develops and toasted marshmallows, herbs and rich fruits appear over time.
  • Palate: Incredibly well balanced – rich and creamy with a slight medicinal hint. The smoke is always present and washes over the palate in waves.
  • Finish: The gentle smoke lingers and lingers.

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Red Casks – Longrow Red 11 year Cabernet Franc 55.9%

We don’t often get a chance to try drams from Campbeltown, though there are a few clear ‘fans’ in the house! For our original Mumbai based tasting group, this was the first peated Springbank whisky under the Longrow brand that we tried together.

We sampled this whisky blind without bias… and here is what we thought…

Longrow Red Cabernet Franc 11 year 55.9%

  • Nose – Peat! Medicinal and maritime, Hamam or Lifebuoy soap, carbolic, fish oil and salt
  • Palate – Full raging peat fire yet still sweet, well balanced between sweet and peat, most enjoyable… terrific to just roll around the palate and bask in its full flavoured peaty sweetness
  • Finish – Gorgeous sweet spice
  • Water – While it seems counter intuitive, don’t… it somehow made the whisky a bit funky

Overall we quite enjoyed this one! It provoked a lively debate about the different characters of peat… contrasting this style of peat with seaweed vs ashy campfire, with neither elements found in this whisky.

One member was absolutely insistent that it had to be Campbeltown – that the peat style was distinctively from that region! Obviously he was spot on and with the reveal backed up his pronouncement with a short discourse on the three different Islay peat bogs vs Highland vs…. you get the picture!

What do the folks at Springbank have to say? Alas the exact expression we sampled has been replaced with a pinot noir… however this remains consistent for what they are aiming to achieve with their Longrow Red expressions:

Our Longrow Red, always bottled at cask strength, is released annually in small quantities and every year a different type of red wine cask is used to mature the whisky.

Offering a different sensation from Longrow Peated, this whisky is smooth, elegant and subtly juicy.

What did we try in our special “red” casks evening?

Other peaty Campbeltown drams

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Peaty Mini – Longrow Peated NAS 46%

Up next up in our peaty miniatures sampling was an opportunity to revisit Longrow from Campbeltown.

I will admit to a certain fondness for the lone Campbeltown distillery with their trio of styles:

  • Springbank – Most enjoyable dram… including a remarkable 1996 sample
  • Hazelburn – Their un-peated range. Had a most enjoyable evening with a Hazelburn 12 year. Still regret missing an opportunity to purchase their 8 year 1st bottling!
  • Longrow – Their peatier range, once upon a time made an appearance in my whisky cabinet…

The miniature offered an opportunity to sample the NAS avatar simply called ‘Longrow Peated’.

Longrow Peated NAS 46%

LongrowHere’s what we found:

  • Nose – Peaty wet rag or wet dog, organic, earthy, spice. After tasting, the nose took on a slightly tart or sour dimension to the peat.
  • Palate – A lovely tingly peat, viscous, spice peat, pepper, a quite mineral element, very tasty
  • Finish – Peppery peat, delightful

Overall, we found it refreshing to side step sweet to just enjoy a nice peaty dram.

We also sampled it in the Norlan glass – fabulous! It brought out a lovely woodsy quality on the palate and really brought out the best of Longrow on the palate.

Here’s what the Springbank folks have to say:

Longrow Peated offers those who enjoy a heavily peated whisky the chance to enjoy a lingering smoky taste that travels through the senses like the smoke billows from a kiln.

  • Nose: Very creamy, vanilla custard. The smoke develops and toasted marshmallows, herbs and rich fruits appear over time.
  • Palate: Incredibly well balanced – rich and creamy with a slight medicinal hint. The smoke is always present and washes over the palate in waves.
  • Finish: The gentle smoke lingers and lingers.

We sampled from a closed miniature in October 2017… a full bottle would set you back around $60.

And what else did we sample in our merry mini malts evening?

And here’s more malt miniatures from my The Whisky Exchange:

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Whisky Exchange – Mini malts…

My June 2016 trip to London meant I brought back not only the delightful Finnish Teerenpeli… I also acquired an array of miscellaneous malt miniatures from The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden, London.

Miniatures

What caught my fancy?

  • The Arran 14 year 46% – To contrast with a Port matured expression waiting to sample in a set of non-standard casks (i.e. not bourbon / sherry)
  • Auchroisk 1996/2014 46% (Gordon & MacPhail) – Tried a 20 year old last year however a G&MP bottling is always a good sign…
  • Glencadam 15 year 46% – Purely as have yet to try one from this distillery… later the Whisky Ladies also tried it
  • Glen Keith 1993/2011 46% (Gordon & MacPhail) – Ditto… haven’t tried so curious
  • Longrow Peated NAS 46% – Loved what I had years ago… couldn’t spare the space for a full bottle yet couldn’t resist a mini!
  • Wemyss Peat Chimney 12 year 40% – Again… simply curious… and know there are more from this range to explore…

Tune in over the coming weeks as some of these wee beauties will be revealed…

Thanks to my London whisky shopping companion, we’ve also dipped into a few other minis too:

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