Longrow Red (2020 Release) & Longrow 15yo Cage bottle (RB HHD #527)


Today we're looking at a slightly older Longrow Red release, with a single cask cage bottling as a note of comparison.

Longrow Red (2020 Release)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 51.6%

Price: £63.00

This 13 year old was initially matured for 10 years in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, before being finished in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels from MontGras Intriga for 3 years.

Nose

Smoked cherry syrup, salty seawater, freshly cracked black pepper, rosewater and freshly sliced strawberries. We’re detecting a funky, rubbery note, more red fruits like raspberries and oak spice. There’s a fair amount of spice on the nose, peppery alcohol along with roasted almonds in the background. After some air, we’re finding a little ham, red currants and red grapes. The wine and spirit are quite well integrated, and it seems to benefit from some time and air.

Palate

The palate opens up with strawberries and sweetened cream, alongside an underlying smoke flavour giving the dram an extra dimension. There’s a light pepperiness, cinnamon, gooseberries, honey and cocoa powder. The mouthfeel is nice, oily, but the finish is what really impresses us… it goes on forever with sweet vanilla and strawberry puree. We’re also finding some sour plums, lime zest, sandalwood, leather and menthol.

Nose (with water)

The aromas have mellowed somewhat and blended together… there’s less individual notes standing out to us. Water brings out more herbal notes, mint, rosemary and freshly cut grass. We’ve lost a lot of the red fruit aromas we experienced before, but the earthy peat smoke remains.

Palate (with water)

Sweeter than pre-dilution, there’s sugar syrup and candied lemon peel in abundance. The palate quickly moves into a more intense, woodier and earthier flavour with cloves, cinnamon, and oak spice. The finish we loved before is still very long, although drier with more oak influence.

Conclusion

Another solid Longrow Red, the mixture of red fruits and smoke makes for something quite interesting and pleasing to the nose and palate. For us, the finish on this whisky is the standout part, it’s incredibly long and flavourful. The alcohol is a little forward for us, but it’s only a small issue that can be fixed by dilution. It’s an easy 8/10 for us.

Score: 8/10


Longrow 15yo Cage bottle (RB HHD #527)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 50.7%

Price: £70.00

For our second review today we’re looking at one of the “cage bottles” from Springbank. This one is a 15yo that’s been matured in a refill bourbon hogshead.

Nose

Mellow yet aromatic, we’re finding a blend of campfire smoke, rosemary, wheat, pickle juice and sand. There’s prominent harbour smells of sea spray, hessian rope and wet pebbles giving the whisky its classic Campbeltown DNA. As we go back to the dram after a little air, we’re finding more of those earthy aromas appear, forest floor, burnt wood and a little menthol too. It’s not a particularly sweet nose, there’s a touch of vanilla in the background but it definitely leans on the salty, earthy side. The alcohol has good balance too, there’s some white pepper if you get too deep into the glass but otherwise it melds in well with the other aromas.

Palate

The initial palate has fizzy lemon candies, sherbet, white pepper and shaven oak. There’s also some vanilla custard, dark chocolate coated digestive biscuits and some mushy apple too. The mouthfeel has a nice texture, it’s not overly viscous but there’s an oiliness that we enjoy. The finish has a good length too, with chimney smoke, a little liquorice and green tea leaves lingering on. There’s not too much peat on the palate for being a Longrow, and it’s much sweeter than the nose led us to believe. It’s got good balance though, and is incredibly sippable.

Nose (with water)

There’s more of a mustiness appearing, overripe pear, a little sauvignon blanc white wine acidity too. There’s also more sweetness appearing, icing sugar mainly along with some shortbread biscuits. Again, the peat smoke is very mellow, but there’s still a lot of earthy, herbal notes still present.

Palate (with water)

Mint leaves coated in caster sugar, thyme and rosemary infused into sugar syrup, vanilla sponge cake, then onto deep, charred wood flavours towards the finish. The mouthfeel isn’t as oily as before, although it’s still pleasant, and the finish feels a touch shorter yet sweeter overall. There’s more peat flavour coming out now, richer and smokier than before.

Conclusion

Another great expression from Longrow, however the age has really mellowed out the peat on this one. There’s lots going on, but it manages to maintain its Campbeltown roots. It’s nice to be able to experience the spirit with minimal cask influence as it allowed the quality to really shine through. It’s another easy 8/10 for us.

Score: 8/10

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  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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