Distillery: Springbank (Longrow brand)
Bottler: Official bottling
Bottled: 2013 (bottle code 13/89)
Price at the time of purchasing: 38€
Unchillfiltered & natural color
Colour: pale gold. On the nose there is an initial intense smoky note, but it is a bit more refined and not as phenolic as the offerings from nearby Islay, very distinctive. Behind the smoke there’s notes of liquorice sweeties, vanilla, honey, pomegranate juice, orange zest, faint cherry and raisins as well as the typical Springbank salt- all in all quite fresh and light with a lot of medium-intense background sweetness. On the palate it is mouth-watering, quite fresh and young with a noticeable alcohol note. A drop of water tames the alcohol, brings out more of the flavours – white pepper, vanilla, banana, fresh kiwi fruit, mango, sweet malt and herbal notes. The finish is medium long, not overwhelming with mostly notes of salt, malt and some smoke remaining after an initial kick when swallowing.
Longrow is the heavily peated, double-distilled whisky from the family-owned Springbank distillery in Campbeltown. Springbank does everything 100% on site from malting to bottling – the only distillery in Scotland to do so – and employs a lot of local folk – I can only commend them for not going the easy way and replacing people with computers! Recently I read that there’s only about 10.000 litres of Longrow made each year (of a total production of 100.000 litres per year) which makes this rather special and only to be found in specialist stores. It’s interesting they chose to bottle it as an NAS whisky when so little is made (especially as Springbank matures so well) – but that’s a question I’m going to ask them when visiting this summer. It is a nice, peated (not overly, just right for the style!) dram. Not overly complex, not the most cask-influenced whisky (I guess the majority is refill casks), but distinctive in style and of great, handmade, intrinsic quality. While Longrow Peated is the entry-level bottling of this brand, comparing it to the entry-level offerings of other (big brand) distilleries, it clearly wins against many of the 10- and 12-year-olds out there. If you come across it – it’s worth picking up!