Despite many good experiences, I still approach wine cask matured whiskies with apprehension. So, I’d never really fancied the Longrow Red series until I tried the Refill Malbec edition two years ago and thought it was awesome. Then last year’s 15-year-old Pinot Noir Cask was not up to par and sowed doubt. Now it is up to the Longrow Red 11 Years Tawny Port Cask to pull me back in.
This latest release, which hit retail shelves fall of last year, initially matured in bourbon barrels, but was then finished for 4 years in fresh Tawny Port barrels. Or maybe we should call that a secondary maturation. Yes, that’s probably more fair.
Longrow Red 11 Years Tawny Port Cask (57.5%, OB, 2022)
Nose: A little shy at first, but it improves after a little while. Raspberries, redcurrants and warming, earthy smoke. Also gentle maritime touches, dusty notes and some strawberry jam. Finally touches of burlap, sage and barley husks. Taste: Robust and oily with a combination of fruits like cranberries, redcurrants and sweet apricots, but also brown sugar, dried figs and earthy peat smoke. Hints of hazelnuts, very gentle spices and dry oak. Finish: Long. Sweet, jammy fruits accompanied by bonfire smoke.
After the somewhat disappointing Longrow Red 15 Years Pinot Noir, this is a comforting return to form. It's jammy, but not too cloying. It's sweet but not too syrupy. And the Longrow characteristics aren't completely outshined by the cask. It can take this sort of abuse like a champ.