Here is the third of this week’s trio of reviews of Springbank distillery hand-filled bottles from October 2022. I reviewed the Springbank from the set on Tuesday and the Hazelburn on Monday. I found that Hazelburn—as I had the August 2022 Hazelburn hand-fill—to be quite palpably peaty. In fact, blind, I would have guessed it was a Longrow. I also liked it a lot. Here now is the actual Longrow from the set and I can only hope that it will not turn out to be devoid of peat. I would also say that I expect to like this even more but the Longrow in the August trio was actually the weakest of that set (which is not to say it was bad). Let’s get right to it.
(As with the other Springbank hand-fills, there is no information on age, distillation here or cask type for this Longrow.)
Longrow Hand-Filled, October 2022 (57.6%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Earthy peat with a bit of savoury gunpowder, dried orange peel and dried mushrooms. Maltier and saltier on the second sniff. With more time there’s toffee as well. A few drops of water and the gunpowder recedes a fair bit and there’s more malt now.
Palate: Comes in mostly as advertised by the nose but with more sweetness and also more salt, and with more char/smoke than earthy peat. Quite approachable at full strength and the texture is thick. With time there’s a bit more char and the orange peel expands as well. Gets earthier too as it goes. As it sits, everything comes together into a very tasty and somewhat unlikely whole: savoury gunpowder, dried orange peel, preserved lemon, roasted malt, charred wood, cocoa. Okay, let’s add water. As on the nose, less gunpowder now—and also less char; the sweeter notes come out to the top and then the citrus (mostly lemon now) expands.
Finish: Long. Picks up cracked black pepper here to go with the smoke which builds in the background, expanding with time. Saltier at the end with time. As on the palate with water—far less salty now.
Comments: Quite similar to the August hand-fill except there’s none of the sour oak that marred that one on the palate. Indeed, oak is barely palpable here. A very nice mix of earthy, smoky, savoury, acidic and sweet. My favourite of this trio.
Rating: 89 points.
Wow, where do you get some of these? I have never even heard of hand filled bottles.
Courtesy someone who visited the distillery. Hand-fill/bottle-your-own casks are a fairly common thing now at Scottish distilleries that are open to the public.