This is a 12 year Longrow bottled as part of their Red series which involves finishing in wine casks. This was finished for one year in French Pinot Noir casks and bottled at 52.9% ABV.
Nose: Peat takes a back seat to very heavy wine notes full of figs, plums, and mulled spices. Some tobacco notes merge with the oak/peat.
Palate: Heavy smoke up front with some smoked, savory meat leading into rich, dark fruits as the wine dials up. After the first few sips, the fruity wine notes take over almost completely.
Finish: Peat lingers through as the wine notes gently fade.
Rating: 87/100 – I generally really like the Longrow Red series, and this one is quite good as well. The balance is a little off for me as the wine on this one takes away a bit too much of the peat for my liking, but still quite good.
Value for the money: I paid around $80 for this, and I think that’s a very fair price.
This is an older OB from Longrow – a 10 year expression that I’m unsure if it was matured or finished in sherry casks. I’m assuming finished based on what I tasted, but I can’t find any definitive info.
Nose: Butyric acid with subtle sherry – qutie briny with some burning rubber among the minimal peat with some smoked fish.
Palate: Salty but sweet with some subtle fruits blended with the peat, some chalky notes are present with a bit of rubber carrying forward from the nose.
Finish: Disappears rather quickly with mostly the peat lingering.
Rating: 84/100 – Interesting to try a younger, sherry influenced Longrow, but the sherry doesn’t add a whole lot for me.
Value for the money: These are hard to find these days as they were bottled in early 2000s, but I believe this bottle was purchased around a $150-200 retail price point which I would not pay. I’d like to see this closer to $80-100 if it was still produced.
This is an 18 year Longrow OB which was bottled in 2013 (per the laser code under the label). It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Quite phenolic with musty oak, strong plastic beach ball notes, nutty with some orange marmalade and oil paint.
Palate: Very plasticky again with smoldering campfire ashes, lemon juice, vegetal notes, and some old tobacco.
Finish: A bit of rubber and plenty of phenols lingering.
Rating: 86/100 – Quite different than a lot of the other peated whiskies I’ve had – the plastic notes were a bit of a distraction for me.
Value for the money: These can typically be found from $150ish (including shipping) from the EU but retail closer to $220 in the US. I wouldn’t pay retail in the US, but when purchased from EU it’s a pretty decent price.
This is the 10 year expression from Longrow’s core range. It’s matured in a blend of bourbon and sherry casks and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Fresh peat with loads of bright citrus – tangerines and lemon juice. Full of brine with slightly damp clay and rotting oak.
Palate: Burnt twigs and leaves with orange and pineapple, peat taking a bit more of a back seat than I expected with playdough and burnt vanilla.
Finish: Young oak arrives with prominent malty notes and a bit of smoke. Very long finish.
Rating: 87/100 – A very solid 10 year expression from Longrow.
Value for the money: I think this is usually priced around $75 or $80, and I think that’s a good buy. I’ll be adding one to my collection at that price.
This is a 14 year expression from Longrow that was matured in a ‘Fresh Madeira’ cask and bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Peat with a strong mineral spirits note. Dry/brittle oak with a tiny hint of raisins, and slightly skunky overall. A bizarre nose that doesn’t come together for me and doesn’t show much of the madeira maturation.
Palate: The Madeira arrives with a sweet, raisiny type edge to the heavy peat. Varnish notes go away thankfully. Little to no oak here – the peat is dominant.
Finish: Red grapes, peat ash, and dry oak.
Rating: 78/100 – I’ve had such spotty luck with Madeira maturation/finishes. Sometimes it seems it has so little effect on the malt compared to a typical sherry finish. The nose was a letdown for me on this one, but thankfully it got better as it went on.
Value for the money: These retailed for around $130 when they came out, but I’d pass at that price. You’ll pay more for Longrows/Springbanks in general compared to other malts their age, but sometimes it’s worth it. If you want wine influenced Longrow – go to the Red series instead at around $80.
This is a 14 year Longrow expression that was aged in ex-bourbon barrels for the first 11 years and then finished in Burgundy hogsheads for the last 3 years before being bottled at 56.1% ABV.
Nose: Cardboard that’s been thoroughly soaked and is almost dry, bananas, apples, black cherries, and a bit of sulphur that peaks its head through here and there. Overall, very fruity and musty.
Palate: Dark fruits on entry before a funky oak arrives with sour cherries, waxy malt, honey, and wet hay.
Finish: Damp oak with dark fruits lingering with mulled wine and cardamom.
Value for the money: I think I paid around $100 for this, and I wouldn’t pay that again. I’d be happier to see this bottle priced around $80 as I feel the Longrow Red series does the wine finish better for cheaper.
This is part of the Longrow Red wine finished series. This expression was matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 7 years and then double-barreled for 4 years in ex-cabernet sauvignon barrels before being bottled at 52.1% ABV.
Nose: Peaty with a big does of brine. Very strange phenolic/fresh tennis ball smell – some richness from the cabernet finish, but fairly minimal impact.
Palate: Overwhelming tennis ball flavor here – some peat and brine develop with a slightly medicinal profile. Cabernet presents as dark fruits, but overshadowed by tennis balls.
Finish: Most cab like so far with stewed fruits and oak.
Rating: 75/100 – That chemical/tennis ball note really hinders this one for me.
Value for the money: These are probably hard to find now, but they retailed for around $80-$90. In general I like that price for the Longrow Red series, but I’d pass on this one due to my opinion of it.
This is part of the wine finished Longrow Red series. This expression spent 6 years in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead and 5 years in an Australian Shiraz cask before being bottled at 53.7% ABV.
Nose: Strange, but intriguing – like a peated white wine. Toffee, damp oak with some floral notes, nutmeg.
Palate: Very strong peat – even for an 11 year old scotch. Shiraz lends some sweeter notes along with cardamom and blood orange.
Finish: Very sweet here as peat fades rapidly leaving you with a wine aftertaste.
Rating: 89/100 – My first Shiraz finish so far, and I’m a pretty big fan. A nice change of pace from your typical sherry/port finish.
Value for the money: These retail around $90, and I like it at that price.
The Longrow Red expressions are a series of Longrow finished in a type of wine cask. So far, they’ve released Port, Pinot Noir, Australian Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is aged for 11 years and bottled at 51.8% ABV
Nose: The port stand out alongside intense peat. Dried herbs/leaves, campfire smoke, and thick molasses
Palate: Sugary port tinged with peat. Rich prunes and figs emerge as the port settles
Finish: Peat lingers with soft, sweet oak and spiced blend of dark and rich fruits
Rating: 90/100 – one of the best port finished peated whiskies I’ve had. Often times I find the port to be dominated by the peat or vice versa, but the balance in this expression is great.
Value for the money: These retail around $90-$100 which is a fair value in my mind.