Here is the last of four reviews of recent releases from the lords of Campbeltown. I’ve already reviewed the 2019 release of the Springbank 21, the Hazelburn 14, Oloroso and the new Kilkerran, Heavily Peated. Here now is the 2019 release of the revered Longrow 18 (Longrow, in case you don’t know, is the name for the heavily peated, double-distilled malt made at Springbank). I’ve previously reviewed two other releases of the Longrow 18: the 2008 release (which was, I believe the first release) and the 2011 release. I liked both a lot. I also have a bottle of the 2014 release on my shelves which I should really open some day soon. The reason I don’t go through Longrow 18 as often/quickly as some other regular releases from Springbank is that it costs the earth in the US. And so I wait to buy it in the UK or Europe once every few years. Well, my parents will soon be passing through London on the way to visiting us—so let’s see if this is good enough to have shipped to my uncle’s place in London, where they will be stopping for a week.
Longrow 18, 2019 Release (46%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Ah yes, charred wood, damp earth, brine, soot; a bit of vanilla too. As it sits the soot expands along with the brine and there’s the familiar Springbank sackcloth. As it sits a touch of preserved lemon peel shows up and then expands. Nothing new with water but it’s all more integrated.
Palate: Comes in sweet and then as I swallow the smoke and brine and lemon peel hit. Lovely texture at 46%. Not much change with time but it’s very good as it is. With a drop or four of water the sweetness and the smoke merge nicely, the citrus turns to lime and the coriander seed from the finish shows up earlier bringing a bit of mustard with it.
Finish: Long. The salt and woodsmoke continue and the preserved lemon peel peeps out again along with some crushed coriander seed and a bit of cracked pepper. A bit sharper with water.
Comments: Pure class. Neat, the action is mostly on the nose and finish; water fleshes the palate out nicely. All in all, it adds up to that very Longrow intersection of austere and full. Now this I would like to have a bottle of for sure.
Rating: 90 points.