Age: No age statement
Launched in 2012, Longrow Peated is the successor to the popular Longrow CV. It’s essentially the same whisky, but given a new name and fresh packaging (although not too fresh, it reminds me of something my grandma would’ve had in her cupboard). I suspect the name change is because Peated is a much better description of what this dram is all about. The sole whisky from Springbank to be double distilled, this Longrow has been peated to around 50-55 ppm, so that’s a hefty dose of smoke! While the peat level is comparable to Ardbeg, the type of peat is rather different. Peat is essentially decomposed plant matter, so terroir matters. While Islay’s peat is largely composed of seaweed and moss, Highland peat contains shrubs and grasses that give it a much sweeter, friendlier taste. Let’s see how it’s influenced this Campbeltown malt.
Colour: White wine
Nose: Rather fresh, with a citrusy tang. Scents of lemon peel and banana candies give way to aromas of toasted barley and a hint of cornbread. The gently sweet, heathery smoke is very much playing second fiddle. A dash of white pepper is accompanied by a dollop of honey and a slice of ginger. On the whole, the nose is a bit light and not all that expressive.
Palate: Now Longrow’s maritime pedigree reveals itself, as salty, briny notes come to the fore. The smoke also puts in an appearance, but it’s more wood fired than peat fuelled. Cinnamon sprinkled barley gives way to flavours of butterscotch, vanilla and burnt toast.
Finish: Decently long, with a warming burst of peppercorn and an aftertaste of tobacco leaves.
Verdict: Well, the name didn’t lie. This whisky is peated. In that sense this is a straightforward, “does what it says on the box” type of dram. But for those who associate peated whisky with the medicinal flavours found on Islay, this Longrow does come with a twist. Longrow Peated feels a bit like a feistier version of a Highland Park. At the same time, this is still very much an entry level whisky, and I recommend you don’t stop your exploration of Longrow here. Some of the distillery’s Wood Expressions are excellent (I have particularly fond memories of the 7 year old Gaja Barolo and the 14 year old Burgundy release). Anything bottled by Springbank these days sells out faster than you can say slàinte mhath, but it’s well worth keeping an eye out for new Longrow releases.
Value for money: 🤩🤩🤩