Monday, December 14, 2015

Whisky Review: Longrow 10 Year 100 Proof US Release

Springbank has released two different versions of Longrow 10 Year 100 Proof - one for the UK at 57% (100 British proof) and one at 50% (100 American proof). The American version first showed up in the US in 2008 but has since been discontinued (as with most of the age-dated Longrow lineup). Unlike the standard Longrow 10 Year at 46%, which is a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, Longrow 10 Year 100 Proof is entirely from ex-bourbon casks.

Longrow 10 Year 100 Proof

Nose: new make spirit and pine, damp peat smoke and wood ash, fresh oak, pickle juice, green malt, lightly floral, plastic, peaches, savory orange peel, mint, bubblegum. After adding a few drops of water the malt becomes cleaner and sweeter, integrating with the floral and bubblegum notes, the cask influence ramps up with some vanilla coming out.

Taste: malt and cask sweetness up front with light floral/lavender notes, transitioning through vanilla and green vegetal/new make/pickle juice flavors starting in the middle, light fresh oak/caramel and more floral notes near the back, a touch of fresh peat rides through it all in the background. After dilution the sweetness expands and covers up the new make character until the very back, the oak expands to give it a little bit greater sense of maturity and a peppery quality, and unripe fruit (apples, pears, berries) comes out.

Finish: pineapple, a little sour, green malt, distant peat, floral, mint, black pepper, soapy

This whisky honestly feels kind of underdone and not what I would expect from a Longrow. I'm guessing all of the casks were refill because the wood impact is very minimal and has done little to diminish the new make character of the spirit. Some of that clears after fifteen minutes or so in the glass, but it's still not what I expected before opening the bottle. I had hoped for something akin to Ledaig 10 Year - a bold whisky with big peat flavor tenuously balanced by bourbon cask influence. Instead it feels like a bunch of weak casks that had lost their peat too quickly were tossed together - this seems even less peated than Springbank 10 Year. Especially given that the remaining bottles in the US are going for close to $100, I can't really recommend it other than for the sake of curiosity. If you're going to buy a discontinued Longrow, make it the CV.

For a different but no more complimentary review from the same bottle, check out Michael Kravitz's post.

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