Longrow Peated

Longrow is the heavily-peated arm of Springbank distillers.  Regular Springbank releases have a certain amount of peat to them, but the Longrow brand amps this up by a considerable amount.

As explained in my Springbank 10 yo review, Springbank is one of the distilleries from the historical Campeltown region in Scotland. They are distinctive among distillers for controlling the entire production process on site (from malting, all the way to bottling). Overall, I find most Springbank whiskies to be fairly light and fruity.

Longrow Peated is the revised name for what was previously known as Longrow CV.  Although I separate these two expressions in my Whisky Database, it appears from the flavour descriptions and scores that what is in the bottle is not very different (i.e., this is just a labeling change).

Here are how the various Springbank offerings compare in my Meta-Critic Whisky Database:

Hazelburn 8yo: 8.40 ± 0.36 on 11 reviews ($$$$)
Hazelburn 12yo: 8.63 ± 0.21 on 12 reviews ($$$$)
Longrow CV: 8.82 ± 0.31 on 15 reviews ($$$)
Longrow Peated: 8.82 ± 0.19 on 12 reviews ($$$)
Longrow 10yo: 8.57 ± 0.44 on 11 reviews ($$$$)
Longrow 18yo: 9.17 ± 0.22 on 7 reviews ($$$$$)
Springbank 10yo: 8.69 ± 0.24 on 19 reviews ($$$$)
Springbank 12yo Cask Strength: 8.85 ± 0.28 on 16 reviews ($$$$)
Springbank 18yo: 8.96 ± 0.19 on 16 reviews ($$$$$)

And here is how it compares to some other whiskies of in the same price range and flavour cluster J class (i.e., heavily peated):

AnCnoc Rutter: 8.97 ± 0.30 on 6 reviews ($$$$)
Ardbeg 10yo: 8.96 ± 0.33 on 21 reviews ($$$)
Benromach Peat Smoke: 8.46 ± 0.26 on 12 reviews ($$$$)
Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach: 8.74 ± 0.27 on 9 reviews ($$$$)
Compass Box Peat Monster: 8.64 ± 0.33 on 16 reviews ($$$)
Ileach Peated Islay: 8.35 ± 0.29 on 6 reviews ($$)
Ileach Peated Islay Cask Strength: 8.83 ± 0.38 on 8 reviews ($$$)
Jura Prophecy: 8.64 ± 0.32 on 15 reviews ($$$$)
Kilchoman Loch Gorm: 9.02 ± 0.17 on 15 reviews ($$$$)
Lagavulin 8yo: 8.86 ± 0.27 on 11 reviews ($$$$)
Laphroaig Quarter Cask: 9.03 ± 0.27 on 21 reviews ($$$$)
Laphroaig 10yo: 8.86 ± 0.25 on 19 reviews ($$$)
Longrow Peated: 8.82 ± 0.19 on 12 reviews ($$$)

As you can see, the average score for the Longrow Peated fits in quite well with this class, with a very low standard deviation.

Note that while I have assigned Longrow Peated to the heavily-peated cluster J, it is really right on the border with the lightly-peated cluster I (which tends to get lower scores overall). It is definitely more peated than regular Springbank, though.

My thanks to Jason Hambrey of In Search of Elegance for the sample swap. Here is what I find in the glass:

Nose: Sweat peat, very earthy. Initial fruits are pear and apple, with a distinctive citrus element (tangerines) and something tropical (pineapple especially). Very malty. Herbal, with hints of a floral bouquet under the smoke. Definitely medicinal (i.e., antiseptic smell).

Palate: Light but earthy, with some definite salt now. A touch of vanilla for sweetness.  Lemon joins the citrus family, and the other fruit notes die down. Very cleansing. Uncomplicated but not dull, you feel like you are really directly experiencing the distillery character here. A wave of smoke wafts over your mouth as you swallow.

Longrow.PeatedFinish: Medium long, with a return of some of the lighter fruits (pear, and those tropical notes). Juicy fruit gum.  The smoke lingers, with a tingle in the back of your throat. Feels like an antiseptic – something they would have made you gargle with in a previous age.

Despite all the medicinal/antiseptic references above, this is actually quite pleasant. It is sweeter than most light-flavoured peated whiskies at this price point, but never feels artificial.  Quite brisk and cleansing.  This is one where you don’t really pick up much from the wood (beyond the standards in all Scotch). Very spirit-driven, as they say.

It is also very easy to drink – I was surprised to see how quickly I drained my glass.  Definitely up there as one of the lighter-tasting peated whiskies you should try on your Scotch whisky journey.  But the numb throat effect afterwards may make you feel like you’ve swallowed a local anesthetic.

As with Springbank 10 yo, the most favourable review I’ve seen for Longrow Peated comes from Serge of Whisky Fun.  More typical are Micheal of Diving for Pearls, My Annoying Opinions, Josh the Whiskey Jug, and the guys at Quebec Whisky. Honestly, I don’t really see any negative reviews of this whisky among the established reviewers.  A consistently solid choice.

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