Whisky does not always have to be silken, filigree and beautiful. Sometimes, you do not want to have the often-quoted “liquid sunshine” in your glass, but scratch the bottom of a barrel (figuratively speaking) for a good dose of smut and grime. The most recent special bottling from Longrow – the peated single malt Scotch whisky brand of Springbank Distillers – is such a dirty dram. It first appeared on my radar after I read a review of it over at Tom Trinkt, a highly recommendable German blog I never miss a post of. As the noticeable sulphur notes, which are present in every phase of the degustation, did not really become best buddies with Tom’s taste buds, I was happy to take the remainder of his bottle off his hands. After all, I have a tendency of enjoying unconventional sips like this. And I was not disappointed. Sure, this fully sherry-matured Longrow 14yo is quite an ugly beast. But so is the Toxic Avenger… and I still love him dearly!
Eye: Rusty, weather-beaten metal.
Nose: A sharp nose with a twist. Grilled portobello mushrooms, gone-out matchsticks, charred wood, brown sugar and mushy plums drowned in a flood of Maggie sauce. This certainly ain’t no aroma mix you get to smell every day!
Palate: Booyyy! This whisky is so strong that I would rather call it mouth-conquering than mouth-coating! Once the tongue has recovered from the initial sting, honey-glazed bacon and bonfire smoke appear alongside unsugared strawberries and overripe garden fruits. And last but not least, the matchsticks and mushrooms from the nose make an appearance on the palate, too.
Finish: An on-going, bulky finish with suckling pig, tree bark, chimney soot and brimstone. While I usually try to steer clear of other bloggers’ tasting notes until my own write-up is finished, I cannot help but recite Tom’s slightly rotten apples here as well. I know that some of the things I sensed in this 14-year-old Longrow seem a bit off, but that is exactly what I like about this malt. It’s rough, dirty, old-school and one of a kind!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Campbeltown)
Alc. volume: 57.8 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~70.00 Euro
More info: http://www.springbankwhisky.com/ (Distillery)