Longrow Red 11 Year Old Fresh Port Cask

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Distillery/Brand: Longrow | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 51.8% | Color: Copper
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Review
My obsession with Campbeltown continues. And my latest area of interest is the Longrow – the peatiest of the three whiskies produced at Springbank. The other two, of course, being Springbank and Hazelburn.

It started when I pulled out a 14 year old Burgundy Wood Longrow more than two years after opening it. Having not cared much for it earlier it’s transformation had me transfixed. It had become quite magnificent.

I then decided to start looking at these peaty Campbeltowners with a bit more interest. And so far I’ve not really been disappointed.

The Longrow Red series is an annual bottling of 11 year olds matured in casks that previously held a red spirit. The first one was matured in Cabernet Sauvignon, the second one in Australian Shiraz and the one I’m talking about matured for 11 years in port casks.

Quite a reddish / orange hue to this cask strength spirit served at 51.8%

Nose: Quite sweet. Cherries. Red licorice. Cough syrup. Strawberries. Smooth caramel. Sandalwood. Black pepper. Mild peat. Pinch of salt. The nose is quite tart but still decently balanced.

Palate: Red berries. Black pepper. Cinnamon. Oak. Red apples. Maple syrup. Cherry cola. Pomegranate. Quite nice on the palate. The flavors hold quite well. It gets spicier mid-palate.

Finish: Long. Minty. Cinnamon. Oak.

I like the concept behind this range. The whiskies themselves may not be earth shattering but at least someone somewhere is trying to do something interesting. And I respect that.

Rating: 88

Springbank 10 Years

Springbank 10

Distillery/Brand: Springbank | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 46% | Color: Light Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Review
Campbeltown, and more importantly Springbank, expressions are always on top of my love list. They have an allure which I can’t explain and I love the fact that simply by being creative they can create different spirits from essentially the same equipment.

The Springbank has the distinction of being distilled two and a half times (not two and not three) unlike all other spirits being produced in Scotland.

This one is a 10 year old bottled at 46% and has seen some sherry casks along the way.

Nose: Initially quite malty with strong salt, brine and coastal sea air. The sherry starts to peek through quickly after that. Dark chocolate oranges infused with cardamom and a hint of delicate peat with some brown bread thrown in for good measure.

Palate: Very true to the nose. The chocolate citrus is there but now with over ripe dates and raisins. There is sweet but the savory side is stronger. Cardamom and cinnamon round off the spicy notes.

Finish: Medium. With salivating oily cinnamon.

This is a very accomplished whisky and serves as a basis for the older geniuses that follow.

Rating: 88

Bowmore 15 Year Old – Darkest

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Distillery/Brand: Bowmore
Region: Islay
ABV: 43%
Color: Full Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
I initially had a rocky relationship with this distillery, having sampled some less than stellar expressions earlier on in my quest as a malt enthusiast. Luckily a friend of mine, who has an obsession with this single malt, insisted I keep trying.

Good call.

This 15 year old was finished in Oloroso sherry for three years after spending the first twelve in bourbon barrels.

Nose: Quite dry like autumn potpourri and crushed leaves. The strong Oloroso sherry is remarkably balanced with a nice dark chocolate and treacle mix. Red wild berries covered in black salt are next followed by a nice woody vanilla and rustic raisins.

Palate: Medium bodied delivery which at first sip seems a bit weak but gathers steam as your palate plays with it. Fresh red berries on dark salt strewn over a plank of cedar cinnamon vanilla. Finally tasty autumn fruits with a touch of peaty smoke.

Finish: Medium long with slightly drying clove.

This is a solid malt which one can drink without being too overwhelmed. And I mean that in a good way.

Rating: 88