May 022018
 

Springbank is such an interesting distillery not only because of their staunchly traditional ways, but also due to the variety of whisky they produce. For the Springbank Society releases, the same fresh Sauternes casks were used for Springbank (lightly peated, partial triple distillation), Longrow (heavily peated, double distillation) and Hazelburn (unpeated, triple distillation), and it was very interesting to taste the Springbank and the Longrow side by side, as there were significant differences between them, not least in a differing level of complexity. The Springbank 9 year old is a very complex dram, whereas this Longrow is wonderfully drinkable, but nowhere near as complex and interesting. I’ll set aside some of the Springbank and the Longrow in hopes of eventually coming across the Hazelburn as well.

 

Photo Credit: whiskyauctioneer.com

Springbank Society Bottling –  2007 Longrow Fresh Sauternes Hogsheads, Distilled 11.2007, Bottled October 2017, 1134 Bottles (56.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Amber, legs running slowly  off a sturdy necklace, with quite a bit of residue.

Nose: This is more of a classic Longrow than the Springbank, with the Sauternes having a bit less of a classic impact on the whisky. The nose is a little more floralPeat and pizza dough baking in the oven, heather honey and white tea with a hint of jasmine. A few drops of water bring up a wave of dirty peat, with a hint of vanilla glaze over a cookie.

Palate: Sweet at first, then spicy and peat, with a light fruitiness, with some light citrus rind. The spice has pepper and clove, with a bit of artificial sweetener adding in some intense sweetness.

Linger: Sweet and dry wood spices, with a chalky quality on the tongue and palate. Almost bone dry. The gullet is spicy and warm.

Conclusion

This is a fabulous sipper, but far less complex than the Springbank release. There’s now also a Hazelburn in the same casks, and I hope to get some of that too….

Jul 172015
 

Longrow is Springbank’s peated line of whisky. It’s distilled in a regular double distillation (as opposed to Springbank’s partial triple and Hazelburn’s triple distillations) and is peated to 50-55 ppm. Longrow comprises about 10% of Springbank’s rather small production. In 2014, Springbank was operating at about 20% of its full capacity, producing only 130,000 liters of alcohol.

Photo Credit: whiskyandmore.co.nz

Photo Credit: whiskyandmore.co.nz

Springbank has moved away from NAS whisky, discontinuing the CV range and returning to a full aged range with a single exception – the Longrow CV has simply dropped the CV, and is now simply called ‘Longrow’. Frank McHardy, Springbank’s legendary master distiller who retired two years ago, said in an interview about the Longrow CV that “younger peated whiskies give you a good hit of peat, which fades as they get older, so Longrow works well with the CV format”. While the name of the expression changed, the rationale behind it didn’t.

The Longrow 14 was meant to be part of an aged range with a 10-14-18 year olds. Currently, only the Longrow 18 remains (I reviewed it here), and the current range includes the Longrow, the Longrow Red (an annual cask strength release matured in a red wine cask – currently in a port cask). The Longrow 14 was matured in both sherry and bourbon casks.

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

Longrow 14 Year Old, Bottled 2008 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, legs are quick with a lot of residue in the glass.

Nose: Vanilla ice cream, confectionery sugar, lightest touch of peat which gets a little stronger. Time in the glass lightens the sweetness and makes it more sherry like.

Palate: Peat and pepper. It’s very spicy with some notes of honey. Rather simple palate with very little complexity.

Linger: Somewhat short, it leaves peat on the tongue, spices in the back of the throat and some residual sweetness.

Conclusion

In a blind tasting, I wouldn’t guess this as a Longrow. It’s somewhat flat and very non sophisticated. With the rather simple palate, it just doesn’t really come together and is clearly the step between the younger CV (which I liked) and the 18 year old (which didn’t impress me).

Prost, Manny!