Springbank 24yo Open Day 2023 & Longrow 8yo Open Day 2023


So much whisky, so little time. Today, we’re going back to look at two bottles we didn’t have a chance to try from this year’s Campbeltown Malts Festival.

    Springbank 24yo Open Day 2023

    Region: Campbeltown

    ABV: 47.6%

    Price: £200.00 (35cl)

    This Springbank release was bottled for the 2023 Open Day. It was aged in a mixture of Oloroso and Port casks. Just 1,920 35cl bottles were made available.

    Nose

    Initially, we're getting rice crackers, strawberry jam, fruit salad sweets, and lemon and lime cordial. When we go back to it, we notice there's also some caramel sauce, pear, and just a hint of peppery spice. If we were nosing this blind, we would have guessed it was aged in sherry casks. It has quite a fruity nose, and the casks have really mellowed the peat and the "Campbeltown funk."

    Palate

    The palate opens with treacle, raspberries, and strawberry coulis. There's also a cracked black pepper spice that outlasts the sweetness on a good-length finish. However, the mouthfeel is a touch disappointing. With air, we notice a hint of plum, melon, and some dunnage warehouse funk. It's very pleasant. There was a fair bit of talk about this whisky being very soapy at the malts festival, but while we can detect a hint of Parma violets in this, we do wonder if that is actually true or if it was merely the "power of suggestion". That being said, we have enjoyed some "soapy Bowmore" in the past, so perhaps it's just our personal preferences.

    Nose (with water)

    Dilution brings out more sherry cask influence in the form of Bovril and brown sugar, along with an abundance of treacle. There's a subtle sourness now, accompanied by notes of fresh thyme and polished wood. The nose has shifted, becoming less of a summery dram, but it remains very pleasant.

    Palate (with water)

    The mouthfeel is quite disappointing, as it has become predominantly one-dimensional sweetness, reminding us of Twinkie cakes. Revisiting, notes of barley sugar and orange peel emerge. The sweetness persists throughout the finish, accompanied by a lingering note that reminds us of Fisherman's Friend aniseed sweets.

    Conclusion

    While we weren't bothered by the supposed soapiness of this whisky, we do feel that the mouthfeel falls slightly short. It is very close to a 7.5 for us, but just misses the mark.

    Score: 7/10

    Value

    £200 is a fair whack for a half bottle, but sadly becomes much more reasonable when it's Springbank. These bottles are being sold at roughly the recommended retail price (RRP) at auctions. So, if you have the funds, this is a rather good choice to experience some older liquid.

    Longrow 8yo Open Day 2023

    Region: Campbeltown

    ABV: 54.9%

    Price: £35.00 (35cl)

    This Longrow release was bottled for the 2023 Open Day. It was aged in Oloroso casks. Only 2,000 35cl bottles were made available.

    Nose

    Not what we were expecting. Initially, there are notes of butter croissants, light ash, and honey. It definitely requires some time to rest in the glass to open up. Patience rewards us with notes of ham hock, lemonade, verbena, and fresh earth. After letting it sit for another 15 minutes, we could also detect hints of caramel and marzipan. This whisky tempts us to write an article on "neck pours." It a great nose, but definitely not a sherry bomb.

    Palate

    It has a very savoury palate, honey-glazed ham, charred wood, pancetta, cloves, seawater, and a nice hit of peat. The mouthfeel is good, but this shows its age with a fair whack of green and red chili spice on the finish. That being said, the smoke also lingers for a good while. Going back, there are Jacobs crackers and a pleasant fishiness appearing.

    Nose (with water)

    With reduction, we're getting gammon steaks with pineapple and smoked ham. It has a very meaty nose. There's also Campbeltown funk, ammonia, and golden syrup. We've found that adding water has really opened this up.

    Palate (with water)

    The reduced palate has notes of cigarette ash, tobacco, fresh lime juice, and chocolate coins. While water has opened this up, it now a fair bit spicier, and we're unsure if water has improved the palate. The finish has grapefruit juice and more of that chilli. The mouthfeel remains good. Personally, we would skip adding water to this and instead let it sit in the glass for a while before sipping.

    Conclusion

    It's a big dram that some will love, and others will no doubt be disappointed by. Personally, we fall in the middle. Wherever you sit it’s hard to argue this isn’t good quality whisky.

    Score: 7/10

    Value

    For Longrow, absolutely, if you can get your hands on a bottle, go for it.

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    • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
    • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
    • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
    • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
    • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
    • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
    • 4 - Below average. Passable.
    • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
    • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
    • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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