Longrow Red 10 Years Refill Malbec (2020)
This’ll actually be the first review of Longrow Red on Words of Whisky, unless you count the few words I scribbled about this series here. Made at Springbank, Longrow is the distillery’s heavily peated spirit. The Longrow Red whiskies have all matured or been finished in wine casks. Today I’ll tak e a look at the latest Longrow Red. At 10 years of age, it matured in re-fill Malbec casks for the final three years.
The Longrow Red series actually has a quirky origin story which some of you might be familiar with already. And since I’ve never actually properly written about Longrow Red, I figured it was fine to share that story here. Although I’m a bit fuzzy on the exact details, it has to do with a brand name dispute between Longrow (the whisky) and Long Row (a wine brand from Australia produced by Angove). I believe in the end it was settled rather amicably. Springbank received a number of wine casks from Angove. They then used these to create the first-ever Longrow Red in 2012.
While wine maturation is always a point of contention in the whisky world (there’s a lot of people that dislike it), Longrow Red seems to have been quite beloved from the get-go. You’ll have to do your best to acquire the latest release, the Longrow Red 10 Years Refill Mallbec.
Longrow Red 10 Years Refill Malbec (52.5%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Lots of minerals and gentle earthy peat smoke, accompanied by bung cloth, blackberries en strawberries. This noses way beyond its years. Lots of tobacco, smoked wood chips and gentle notes of milk chocolate. A touch of rhubarb and cinnamon too.
Taste: Fantastic oily mouthfeel with some lovely citrus (grapefruit) and tropical notes, as as well as jammy red fruits. Of course, there’s smoke and a bit of ash. It wouldn’t have been Longrow otherwise, but it is in perfect balance with all other elements. Lovely salinity and a pinch of pepper too.
Finish: Somewhat drying, but a nice minerality, as well as wood smoke. Lingering orange peel.
A home run by Springbank, I feel the fact that these Malbec casks are actually refills is key to the wonderful balance. It allows for the spirit to fully shine through while the red wine adds not much, yet an important extra layer of complexity.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.