Sep 9, 2015

Longrow Red 11yo Fresh Port Casks...

Longrow Red 11yo Fresh Port Casks (51.8%): After Springbank Distillery announced that Longrow Red Pinot Noir will be the 4th edition of the Red series and is about to hit the shelves in a couple of months I thought that it's finally time to pop open the last year's release and make room for the new member of the family. The bottle sitting in front of me now is the 3rd edition and the whisky in it spent its entire life in fresh port casks. It was actually a special release for me. During the Springbank Whisky School in June 2014 I had the chance to taste this particular expression directly from one of the casks before it got blended and bottled. I have been already a fan of the Red series since its launch but I knew I will get at least a bottle of this particular edition as soon as it is released the moment I tasted it back then. Gosh, it was something... Cannot wait to sample it now after it got blended. Ok, let's get the party started... Color: Polished old copper, red gold. Nose: Wild mushrooms, damp soil under your boots during a hike in a shady forest after summer showers. Pomegranate molasses, sweet balsamic vinaigrette and damp tobacco leaves. Distant peat bog, decomposing apples and fireplace soot. Adding a few drops of water pulls peat tiny bit more forward: cigar ash, wet beach sand and salted mackerel. Palate: Creamy and incredibly mature for an eleven year old whisky. Very dry with sour raspberries, sour cherry juice and chipotle peppers. Sour Flemish red ale, strawberry jam, red currants and glossy eighties magazines. With water I have now some cracked black pepper, dry port and coriander seeds. Finish: Finish is the only time the whisky reminded me its high(ish) abv. Crushed red pepper and fresh cranberries. Let's add a few drops of water and go back. Even just a little water took all the sharp edges out. Smooth, sweet and sour and more fruity now. Overall: Beautiful whisky... Love the perfect marriage of peat and red fruit galore overall. Adding water made it definitely more approachable but also lost the tartness and thick syrupy texture which I loved a lot at the beginning. Love that multi layered sour character of red wine and port cask matured or finished whiskies. They are like red Flemish ales of the whisky world. Well there is nothing to do now except sipping my 3rd edition slowly while patiently waiting for the release of the 4th edition...

Tasting with Robert "Pop" Scally
photo by Frank Ryon-Dujardin © June, 2014