Review: Longrow 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

18 Yrs; Refill Sherry Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Springbank (Campbeltown, Scotland)

Springbank is one of my favorite Scottish distilleries, as many connoisseurs would say. The company has consistently produced good quality product, remains family owned, and has weathered the whisky craze well - they have dropped age statements on some of their products but the whisky has continued high quality. Springbank distillery produces three types of spirit - a lightly peated, triple distilled (and thus quite light) Hazelburn, a medium peated Springbank, and a heavily peated Longrow. They are all worth seeking out, and are all terrific winter drams. The 18 year old Longrow is one of my favorite whiskies, and my favorite product I've tried out of Springbank. In the right store, it's also really not that expensive. It is extremely well received - it is a challenge to find anything other than exceptional scores for this whisky.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code:

  • Bottling Date: 2016

I just put my nose to the glass and thought – wow. Beautiful, rich oak, candle wax, orange, stuffed baked apples, caramel, wood smoke, Belgian endives, buckwheat…rich, fascinating stuff. Rich, but more from the oak than from the spirit itself. Stewed apricots. Absolutely fascinating nose. As it sits, a bit of the heavy, waxy Springbank character sets in.

On the palate, surprisingly light with lots of buckwheat and a smoky, peppery kick – though there’s also the carry through of all of that floral element, the dried fruit, and stewed pears. Full of grains here – distinctly buckwheat, but still very full of malt and cooked orange as well. Dried fruit. The finish carries through with buckwheat and some other grain also. The springbank heaviness is there, but it is tempered with the oak. Terrific mouthfeel. I expected more wood on the palate…this goes down easy! The standard longrow is more smoky, but pales in comparison to this in all areas other than smoke. Truly an elegant dram. Very chewy.

Smouldering wood coals on the finish, some dried chickpeas, with stewed fruit aplenty, and a few dried flowers thrown in. But what a nose! The buckwheat is also so surprising, and so unique. Terrific stuff.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $142. So, it’s good enough even not to be a particularly bad buy at $142! (I generally don’t like buying above $100 bottles).