Mar 17, 2015

Longrow 14yo...

Longrow 14yo (46.0%): I have another sample saved from our peaty whiskies tasting two weeks ago. It is a 14 year old Longrow..! So, maybe it's finally the right time to dig out all the notes from Springbank Whisky School to show off folks..! (Believe or not some of these came up in the final exam...) All of the distillery's expressions use the same kind of barley (except the special release of Springbank Local Barley) which is a mix of Optic and Concerto varieties. The difference between them starts in the kilning process. Longrow malt is dried using peat smoke only, unlike the others, and requires a period of kilning up to 48 hours to reach a phenol level of 48ppm - 50ppm. Another major difference in production of Longrow shows up at the distilling process. Longrow is distilled only twice where Hazelburn is distilled three times and Springbank two and a half times. The initial strength of the distillate collected in Longrow distillation is around 69% - 72% and it is collected until the strength drops down to 58% at 20°C which brings the average strength in the spirit receiver to 68% abv. At the end of the distillation 1,020 liters of spirit is collected for a charge of 21,500 liters. This particular expression of Longrow is a vat of whiskies matured both in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels. Color: Medium amber, honey. Nose: Sherry is upfront on the nose: Orange zest jam, prunes, dates and passion fruit. Peat is subtle and at the background: sweet soot, effervescent tablets, smoked kippers and latex gloves. Hardwood furniture, salted butter and feta cheese brine. Maybe some old fashioned yoghurt, clementine soda and tart apple cider. Very faint summer breeze at the beach. What a calm and soothing nose... Palate: Don't know where to start with... Candied citrus fruits, wet garden soil and cigar butt. Sweet white wine vinegar, dry sherry and passion fruit. Peppermint leaves, sweet paprika and pine needles. This palate don't want me to stop listing notes: Tweed flat cap hat soaked in rain, wind sweeping the meadows and fresh cut grass. Finish: Warming with bonfire barbecue and dry-cured fish. Seaweed, samphire and thick Irish beef stew. Overall: Another great dram with amazingly well balanced sherry and peat notes from Springbank. I know that I was a little carried away with the tasting notes but this dram totally brought me back to a gloomy, rainy and cold Campbeltown afternoon. I couldn't help myself... I don't know any other distillery that mirrors its geography so good. Hey, I am fan anyhow... What did you expect? I tried to be objective but I don't know how successful I was. I simply like what they do and how they do. This is a hard to find expression, especially here in the States but it's definitely worth to keep your eyes open and look for a bottle. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Springbank Distillery // Warehouses, June 2014
Springbank Distillery // Spirit Safe, June 2014