Springbank 18 (2022 Release) & Longrow 18 (2022 Release)


We're back in Campbeltown checking out the 2022 releases of Springbank 18 and Longrow 18. 

Springbank 18 (2022 Release)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 46.0%

Price: £110.00

The 2022 release of Springbank 18 is a mixture of 65% bourbon and 35% sherry casks.

Nose

Maraschino cherries, salty sea air, light citrus - more of the zest than juice. The classic dunnage warehouse aromas are on full display here, backed up with some cassis, freshly baked cream puffs and a little raspberry puree. The alcohol is a touch peppery on the nose, more than we expected at this ABV, but there's a lot of distillery character and cask influence that brings the nose into balance. There's also a nice background note of mellow peat smoke and maritime influence giving it yet another dimension.

Palate

The palate opens with red fruits stewed down into a chunky jam, strawberries, raspberries, a little blackcurrant too. It's sweet, but quickly morphs into a more savoury, salty palate with salted caramel, pretzels, a little coffee and some oak spice. The whisky has a good mouthfeel but we're a little disappointed with the finish, it's a little shorter than we had hoped for and ends with a dry, bitter oak flavour. Going back after some air, we're getting orange oil, ginger snaps and a little grapefruit.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out more of the citrus, lemon zest and orange with a spoonful of sugar added. We're also finding the salty maritime aromas appearing more prominently. The peppery alcohol we found pre-dilution has mellowed considerably, allowing us to get deep into the glass. There's an earthiness we're finding now, wet soil and twigs in addition to the peat smoke we found before.

Palate (with water)

A mixture of sweet and sour notes have moved to the fore, strawberries macerated in white sugar, a little green grape, vanilla cream and some sour apple sweeties. There are still notes of oak, salt and peat but they're further back now, and we're pleased to see the bitterness on the finish has disappeared.

Conclusion

There's more sherry influence than expected based on the sherry/bourbon cask ratio, but it manages to stay in balance without being overpoweringly sherried. As expected, it's a great quality, complex whisky that keeps you going back for more. Our only criticism comes with the finish, it's a little short and without water, a little bitter and oaky. Saying that, water does really bring the dram into harmony, so we'd recommend adding a few drops.

Score: 8/10


Longrow 18 (2022 Release)

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 46.0%

Price: £110.00

The 2022 release of Longrow 18 has been matured exclusively in sherry casks.

Nose

Rich, syrupy sweetness with a good whack of smoke stopping it from being sickly sweet. Raisin, sultanas, dates, all the usual dried fruits. It reminds us of sticking our nose into an empty sherry butt. There's some earthy, vegetal peat here, but with the strong dried fruit notes it doesn't feel as powerful as we'd expect. Giving it some air, we're getting some salt, pebbles, a little diesel and ground ginger.

Palate

A nice oily, mouth coating texture with plums, cherries, smoked brisket with a black pepper crust and ginger biscuits. It's got a spice from the alcohol, but it works well alongside the other strong flavours. There's a real minerality here too, salt water and some bandages. Going back after some air, there's cocoa beans, some dunnage funk and wet leaves. The finish has a nice long length with nutmeg and chocolate coated raisins.

Nose (with water)

Water has lightened up some of the aromas, it's less syrupy and rich now with a fresher nose. Red grapes, milk chocolate, lots of Campbeltown funk and freshly cut grass. It's still got a good amount of peat with more of a citrus tinge than before.

Palate (with water)

We're finding sweeter, fresher fruits.. red currants, blackcurrant and fresh cherries. The mouthfeel is still really nice, it's still viscous although slightly less so than before. The peat is savoury now, there's a little more acid and a little more earthiness too. Going back after some air, we're finding wasabi peas, grapefruit and oak.

Conclusion

Sherry and peat, a match made in heaven. We're not sure we'd call this a sherry bomb as such, it's definitely heavily sherried but there's a lot more than that going on. Good mouthfeel, good finish, just great quality whisky. Water lightens the dram up, so we think it's down to personal preference whether to add any or not.

Score: 8.5/10

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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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