Longrow is Springbank’s peated line of whisky, which was begun in the 1973. It’s named after the old Longrow distillery, which operated next door to the Springbank distillery from 1824 through 1896. In fact, Springbank’s bottling facility is the warehouse of the old Longrow distillery.
This masterclass is, of course, about the independent bottlers, and accordingly we’ll focus on the bottler. Samaroli is an Italian independent bottler established in 1968 by Silvano Samaroli. What sets Samaroli apart is their interesting policy of re-casking for what is effectively a finish or a second maturation. Moreover, this isn’t actually stated on the beautifully designed labels, rather left as part of the added value. In an interview with The Alcohol Professor, Francesco Binetti, a partner and sales manager with Samaroli said: “Every independent bottler should provide his own added value. So, the usage of these casks is one of our added value components; in our opinion. this is the best way to respect spirit’s soul. It is like different singers singing the same song: there may be different interpretations but just one of them is ‘the best’.”
This particular bottling of Longrow is from 1973, the very first year Springbank distilled the heavily peated whisky. This is, however, a gentle whisky (despite having something greasy on the nose), with very little of the smoky peat you’d expect.
Samaroli Campbeltown ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (Longrow) 1973, (50% ABV, NCF, NC)
Color: Amber, very slow legs.
Nose: Oil, olives, sweet olive paste, drop of smoke, scent of a garage, grease, sweet fruit. Water adds a focus the sweet fruit.
Palate: Sweet fruit, light smoke, sandalwood, sea breeze. The whisky is very oily. Water brings out more peat and clove.
Linger: Sweet with light peat. The linger has cereal lingering on the palate.
By far, this was the most gentle of the drams tasted in this showcase, exhibiting almost none of the heavy peat you’d expect. It’s there on the palate and linger, but very gentle.
In fact, gentle really is the operative word I’d use for this dram, despite having something oily and greasy in it. Fabulous experience, though not overly challenging as a dram.