Tasting: Longrow 12y 2002-2015 by Cadenhead’s

Longrow 12y 2002-2015 by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Springbank
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 2002
Bottled: April 2015
Age: 12 years
Limitation: 288 bottles
Casks: Ex-Sherry
Alcohol: 53,1%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The nose opens a bit high on the alcohol at first, but this impression fades after a minute or two, revealing a rich and dark, oily, heavy dram. Motor oil, earthy dunnage warehouse floor, rich oak, almost burnt caramel, brine, creamy fudge, with peat smoke in the background – it really has a hard time fighting through all the heavy notes. Oh, and dark, dried fruits – plums, dates, figs and the likes. Sulphur? Maybe a teeeeeeeny bit, but I’m not that sensitive to it. On to the palate then Oh, here comes the sulphur upon exhaling through the nose. Pretty intense on the alcohol and teeth-coating oiliness with sweetness and dark fruits somewhere back there. Let’s add water, and not too little – how about five espresso spoons? Much improved – and gone is the sulphur, hooray!  Here comes a dark fruit puree with fresh cranberries, leaning more on the fruity than the sweet side. Not much more to say about that – it’s not very multi-faceted. The oak is there as well, exhibiting its spicy, slightly tannic side – pretty sure this was a european oak cask. Oh, Longrow should be peaty, you say? Well… not too sure what happened here, I’m getting more of a slightly smoked brininess than peat smoke. The finish – after adding water – is creamy and oily with the aroma of dark fruits and lingering cask spices with a salty brine mixed in.

Cadenhead’s as an “independent” bottler has full access to the warehouses where the Springbank whisky is matured, since it is a part of the J & A Mitchell company. As it was the case with the Hazelburn they bottled last year, they sure pick some of the more interesting casks to be bottled individually. In the case of this 12yo malt it is not your typical Longrow – very cask driven, loud and oily, almost completely eliminating the peat smoke. A bit one-dimensional on the palate too – give it a generous amount of water and time to settle down!

Score: 87/100
(Nose: 89 Palate: 85 Finish: 87)

The sample for tasting was kindly provided by Cadenhead’s Whisky Market Austria. Cheers!

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