Longrow 14 Years

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Distillery/Brand: Longrow | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 46% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
Every time I write a review of a single malt from Campbeltown town I spend the first few minutes gushing on about how irrationally infatuated I am with this region for no particular reason at all.

But I’m happy to reveal that my fascination is quite justified. Barring a few bad apples (Glen Scotia 18, anyone?) it has largely been a parade of interesting and generally above-average whiskies to come out of this small region.

Specifically Springbank which produces three completely different expressions from basically the same hardware which I think is sheer genius – the Longrow being my favorite with Hazelburn as my least.

This, now sadly discontinued, 14 year old, has been finished off in sherry casks. There’s not a lot of literature to find, unfortunately, and my research didn’t turn up a whole lot. For example I don’t know how long it was finished for or the type of sherry it was.

My guess is three years finishing in Marsala – largely because it has such a dry nose and palate. This particular sample is from an open bottle about a third finished packaged at a nice 46% ABV

Nose: Mild peat. Sweet perfume. Mild chocolate. Salt. Brine. Hint of citrus. Wet bandage. Apple cider. Brown sugar. Banana. Ginger. Starts of quite sweet followed by something coastal before finally settling down to a savory finalé. Lovely nose.

Palate: Medium bodied. Spicy at first. Cinnamon. Oak. Brown honey. Gets fruity mid-palate. Plums. Apple. Citrus. Pineapple strudel. Ginger. Salt. Slightly burnt. Not as good as the nose but good nevertheless. Evenly spreads over your palate. Gets dry towards the end.

Finish: Fairly long. Dry. Cinnamon powder. Wood. Lingers.

An accomplished whisky need not be over the top to tick all the boxes. Nicely controlled elegance.

Rating: 89

Longrow 14 Year Old Burgundy Wood

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Distillery/Brand: Longrow | Region: Campbeltown | ABV: 56.1% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 93

Review
I have a confession to make. Actually a confession made on the back of a revelation.

About a couple of years ago I picked up this Longrow to satisfy my ever increasing curiosity for Campbeltown. To be fair I didn’t know much about it and relied on the salesman to pick something out for me.

A couple of months after purchasing it I had a poker night at my place and one of the guys wanted to have a taste. I duly obliged. He liked it. I wasn’t too impressed.

As it turns out he has much better taste in whisky than I do. Not only did I not think much of it I had the gall to write a review about it and label it average. This was, of course, over two years ago. In my defense I live in Dubai so two years is actually closer to eight in whisky years. You know, because of the temperature. So I think I can be forgiven for being naive.

This 14 year old gem has been matured for 11 years in bourbon barrels (1997-2008) and then for a further three in French Burgundy Casks (2008-2011). It’s peated like all Longrows are and it’s served up at a juicy 56.1%

Nose: Warm dark honey. Natural caramel. Toast. Cranberries. Malt butter. Cherries. Red licorice. Star anise. Cinnamon. Tannins. Mint leaf. Cured meats. And that lovely peat.

Palate: Strong cinnamon. Clove. Dark cocoa. Coffee beans. Actually superbly roasted coffee beans. And spices. Roasted too. Burnt sweet caramel. The delivery is full bodied and the flavors brilliantly balanced.

Finish: What a finish! Long, oily and chewy. Minty with lots of coffee. Cherries. Cinnamon. Warm Coca-Cola.

Thanks to my friend The Whisky Snob who raved about it so much he made me give this another go. Incidentally this score is 6 huge points above the last.

I was either stupid or the oxidization helped. I’m going with stupid.

Rating: 93