I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. Ever year Springbank releases a Longrow Red, a cask strength longrow usually aged a little over 10 years, which has been partially matured in casks which previously held various types of red wine. Off the top of my head previous released have used port, pinot noir and shiraz.
The reason I was so excited for this one was that quite sometime ago I saw it mentioned that the casks used in this most recent batch previously held South African malbec. Now I was excited not only because I really like malbec which tends to be quite a dark and fairly tannic wine, but also because I’m originally from South Africa and love South African wines, so there’s also a hint of sentimental value here.
The casks for this whisky were sourced from the De Toren winery which is from the Stellenbosch wine region. I’ve stated before when talking about wine matured whisky that exploring the different wine cask types’ utility for whisky maturation is important as the supply of good sherry casks is running low whereas wine in general is as popular as ever and some types of wine add some amazing character to whisky.
Aged 13 years. 51.3% ABV. Matured in bourbon casks and finished in South African Malbec casks. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at batch strength.
Nose: Guava fruit leather. Lanolin. Herbal funk. Dusty red fruits. Baker’s Strawberry Whirls biscuits (these). Vegetal peat. Smoked salmon. Salt. Cloves. Dried orange peel. Brown sugar. Some hints of chemical smoke. Mulch.
Palate: Quite oily, mainly wood oils. Mineral peat. Pears in wine sauce. Woodspice, lots of woodspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves. Leather. Salt. Slight seaweed. Citrus. Citrus peels. Dry wine tannins on the swallow.
Finish: Long. Lots of dry fruit tannins. Leather. Wood smoke. Salty peat. Rose water. Lemon rind.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was well worth the wait. It’s a very complex dram with quite a few layers to it. There’s the interaction between all the spice notes from the wine cask with Springbank’s signature dirty, herbal funk and well as another dichotomy of sweet and dry notes. Lovely stuff, really deserving of a long, quiet period to truly understand it.