Longrow, the ‘peated-to-Islay-levels’ version of Springbank with a slightly shorter distillation regime, is one of their three brands. With it being a Springbank whisky, it means they have cage bottles available at the shop in Campbeltown.
When I was there in 2018 I picked up some, and I *think* this one was one of them. I reviewed it a while ago, but I forgot to write the origin of the sample/bottle down, and I didn’t take a picture. Look at me being meticulous…
Anyway, I was in Campbeltown in June as well, but didn’t buy anything. All they had in the Cage was the leftovers from the Campbeltown Festival of Malts, which were either 6 or 10 year old Springbank and Hazelburn whiskies, from refill bourbon casks. Not necessarily a bad thing, but with the Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting coming up, I didn’t want to spend my money beforehand.
But this one, an 18 year old Longrow, which, as with Cage bottles, was quite affordable, is something else entirely. If something like this would have been available, I wouldn’t have kept all my money in my pocket, so to say.
What I do find interesting is that this bottle is on Whiskybase, by someone else. I always figured these Cage bottles were one-ofs, but it seems they draw several bottles from each cask. Or there was a sister cask with the exact same info and ABV, but that’s unlikely.
Salty smoke. Smoked fish in port, maybe even smoked ham. Sand and brine and a fireplace. Quite some oak, and lots of minerals. Iron, slate, apple, cement.
Pretty sharp, but mostly because it’s pretty strong. No excessive alcohol or chili heat. Oak, leafy forests on the shore. So still coastal with salinity, brine and smoke. More clearly peat smoke now.
The finish carries on in much the same way. The oak gets a bit sweeter with some more vanilla, some stewed apple, pear.
This, dear reader, is everything you want from a Longrow whisky. It’s not a life changing event, drinking this, but there’s a lot of good stuff happening that I wouldn’t mind drinking an entire bottle of this (not in one go, obviously).
The coastal notes are strong, but there’s enough distillery character and cask influence to add depth and other flavors. The peat is definitely present, but with some minerals and fruit added, this becomes a rather quintessential Longrow.
Longrow 1999-2018, 18yo, Refill Bourbon Hogshead from Rotation 498, 52.9%. Only available at the Cadenhead shop in Campbeltown.