If you’re ever around Loch Lomond I implore you to pop in to the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum. It is an absolute treasure trove of whisky, and in particular, weird and wonderful miniatures. I was up north a few weeks ago and passed through Tyndrum on my way home. Needless to say I stopped to have a look around the Green Welly Stop and left with a slightly lighter wallet, but I cannot emphasise just how well spent my money was. I picked up a few miniatures and will be sampling one here, particularly as it comes not long after my trip to Springbank.
During the Victorian times, Springbank would have most likely produced heavily peated spirit. Perhaps not all of the time, but it would have produced this Islay-style spirit for at least part of the year. In more modern times, Springbank has created a brand out of this heavily peated malt; Longrow, so named after a distillery which was situated very close to Springbank in Campbeltown, but which only distilled between 1824 and 1896. Use of heavily peated malt, and thus the creation of the Longrow brand began in 1973, and it has gained an almost cult following ever since.
I managed to find a 1974 Longrow matured for 16 years in sherry casks. It’s quite rare, considering the liquid comes from one of the first few runs of heavily peated spirit, and it was bottled sometime in the very early 1990s. It’s available in 75cl form for the princely sum of £2,500, so to pick up a 5cl miniature for £14.99 is a bit of a steal. Told you my money was well spent…
Longrow 1974 16yo
Nose: Light menthol, hessian, musk, faint old leather and a whiff of ‘country house’ – it’s full of these ‘rancio’ notes Dave Broom describes so well. Then the fruit comes through – passionfruit, mango, overripe pineapple and muscovado sugar. Underneath there’s damp forest floor, dusty logs, and very soft smoke.
Palate: Dried apricot, camomile and really herbal to start – maybe sage, or coriander? Buttered malt loaf, Ecclefechan tart, mango chutney and some darker fruits too – just a hint of cherries and blackberries. Sweet, oily smoke pervades.
Finish: The smoke surges forward now, with clove, cinnamon, dark chocolate and some black tea.
Overall: Well, well, well. What an absolute delight that was. Literally history in a bottle. To be able to sample a Longrow from the first 12 months of production is something very special indeed. The individual contributions from the peat and from the sherry casks are brought together seamlessly and wrapped up with Springbank’s trademark oily texture. Old school whisky. Stunning stuff.