Longrow 11, 2007 (Cadenhead)

The first two entries in this week of peated whiskies that spent time in port casks were both from Islay, were both 8 years old, and were both distilled in 2013. Monday’s Bunnahabhain (bottled by Cadenhead) was double matured in a tawny port cask. Wednesday’s Kllchoman received a (presumably briefer) ruby port cask finish. Today’s Longrow (also bottled by Cadenhead) is both older than the other two by three years and spent far more time in a port cask: indeed, it was matured fully in a port cask. That may make it seem likely to be far more port-influenced than the others but it was also a refill port pipe. Depending on how many fills that port cask had gone through the port influence may in fact be quite muted. This is not my first review of a Longrow from a port cask—that would be the Longrow Red release from 2014 which was also a full-term port maturation, albeit in fresh port casks. I didn’t find that one—coincidentally also an 11 yo—to be overly wine-dominated but I also did not think it was anything so very special. Will this one be better? Let’s see. I did like both the Bunnahabhain and the Kilchoman a fair bit and it would be nice to end the week on a high note.

Longrow 11, 2007 (57.8%; Cadenhead; refill port pipe; from a bottle split)

Nose: Leads with a big hit of salt and fruit—dried apricots, dried orange peel, cranberry juice. Some savoury gunpowder in there too along with some licks of dry smoke. Earthier with time with the trademark Springbank burlap and coriander seed. Water sharpens it a little and pulls out more smoke and some candied pineapple and turns that savoury gunpowder to ham brine.

Palate: Oh yeah—this is lovely! Comes in as on the nose but with a little more of the acid and more of the smoke—quite a bit of soot here along with the more acrid notes. Very approachable at full strength and a nice oily texture. The second sip brings a more concentrated dose of everything in the first, adding some mango leather to the mix. With more time the apricot intensifies and there’s some pineapple in there with it too along with some cracked pepper. Okay, let’s add some water. Ah yes, a slightly sweeter version of the previous.

Finish: Medium-long. Earthier and a bit spicier (coriander seed) here as the smoke and the dried fruits fade out. Some of that Springbank leather shows up as well.

Comments: Man, I like this. What it reminds me of most of all is the Cadenhead’s Campbeltown cask that I tried in Scotland in 2018. I did manage eventually to get a full bottle of that one. Wish I had a bottle of this as well as I like it even more! And no, if I didn’t know I wouldn’t have guessed this was fully matured in a port cask—I would have guessed sherry. Which may tell you something about the quality of my palate or about how relevant the original contents of a maturation cask are when it’s a refill cask.

Rating: 90 points.



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