Longrow is one of the three main divisions of Springbank and features their peated whiskies (the others are Springbank and Hazelburn). Furthermore, Longrow Red is one of three Longrow offerings, always released at cask strength. The Red comes from the fact that a new red wine cask is used to finish the whisky every year. This particular release was aged in Australian Shiraz casks. We wanted to try the base model Longrow Red, as we did at a Merlin’s Rest Tasting last year, but it has sadly been discontinued. How will this one be different from the regular Longrow Red, and how will it compare to the other Campbeltown we’ve tried?
Age: 11 years
Maturation: Australian Shiraz casks
Nose: Shiraz, medicinal, ozone, leather
Palate: Wood polish, vanilla, oak, spice, clove, brine
Finish: Oak, sweet, leather, smoke
Comments: We recommend that you try it unaltered first just for the experience, but some water might be needed since it’s at cask strength. The below responses each had different amounts of water added. The amount you add can change the flavor profile drastically, so be prepared.
Adam – There are a lot elements in this Scotch I normally dislike. Ergo, I should loath this drink. Yet I find it fascinating. It’s a oily and hot right on the front, even after watering but it dissipates quickly into an interesting mix where the sharpness from the wine is mellowed a little by the strong wood influence from the casks. There’s the promise of sweetness lingering somewhere underneath that never ultimately delivers but it’s an alchemy that seems to work against all odds. Definitely something to be explored but is like the Glenlivet 16 year “Nadura” in that you’ll probably have to do a lot of mixing with water to get it exactly where you want, since certain qualities can change drastically depending on what you do. What can I say? I like a good mystery.
Kate – This is the person you cringe when they enter the room. Some days they are tolerable to be around and other days they are clearly trying way, way, too hard. Finding the right balance is very difficult for them. You want to pull them aside and say, “Hon, you’re trying too hard. Calm down the perfume, loud clothes, and trying to please everyone.” I think it could be wonderful but clearly there’s something off.
Meghan – It smells red, like the obscure berry syrup they have at pancake houses that no one uses, boysenberry maybe? But not a natural boysenberry but artificial and natural flavorings berry smell. The cask adds a medicinal and woody note that brings artificiality to the nose. It’s hot but more interesting without water. Unwatered you can really taste Shiraz on the front. But 53.7% is too much for me to do more than just taste straight. Water brings out sweetness but it’s cloying- like cough syrup. The high alcohol hides the smoke in the finish so for me, some water is a good choice. There is almost too much going on resulting in a muddled product: the sum of its parts do not add up to the Longrow’s totality.