Longrow Red 13 year old – Malbec Cask Finish

As a fan of both red wine finish whisky and the Campbeltowns peated Longrow I was greatly anticipating this years annual release of Longrow Red. This years edition comes in a Malbec finish.

The Distillery

Longrow comes from a family of Cambeltown spirits produced by distillers J&A Mitchell that includes Springbank and Hazelburn.  I was drawn to Springbank after I learned of their practice of using local production, traditional methods and selling at reasonable prices. I continue to buy and drink Springbank due to the quality balanced peated whisky they produce.

Since hearing of their annual limited edition Red range of red wine cask matured Longrow I was determined to get a bottle for myself. I found locating a bottle from previous editions impossible online so was keeping a close eye out for this year’s offering. Luckily my brother tipped me off to the Twitter announcement and I managed to get a bottle, the last bottle, on the day of release from the companies cadenheads London shop.

Longrow Red 13 Year Old - Malbec Cask Finish

The Dram

This year’s offering is a 13 year old malt that spent 12 years of its life in bourbon barrels followed by 15 months finishing in fresh Malbec barriques from the De Toren Private Cellar in Stellenbosch, South Africa. I know very little about wine so what is Malbec and what does it bring to the table? Malbec is a red wine known for its strong dark fruit flavours, smooth tannin content and balanced acidity. All aspects that I expect will pair beautifully with a peated whisky. Any further comment from wine experts would be greatly appreciated.

Only 9000 bottles of this dram exist and as you would expect come in full cask strength and non-chill filtered.

Tasting Notes

Colour: Well brewed tea

Nose: apricot, sweet raisins, malty bread

Palate: An immediate crescendo of tangy tannic peat laced with sour cooking apples and plums, sweet blackberries and raspberries, like biting into an unripe plum

Finish: the initial wave of flavour recedes into the classic Longrow sweet tobacco, ashen, peat that lingers with the ongoing theme of blackberries and cherries, very reminiscent of the finish from Laphroaig 15.

Final Thoughts

The long wait has certainly not been in vain. A lively, acrobatic malt that provides a complex range of flavours but remains true to the Longrow peat at its core. Aspects remind me of the Ardbeg corryvreckan and the Laph 15 but this is unique malt with a surprisingly refreshing effect. If you come across a bottle I highly recommend you snap it up before it’s gone.

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