Tasting Notes for Longrow Peated Single Malt
Nose: Very creamy, vanilla custard. The smoke develops and toasted marshmallows, herbs and rich fruits appear over time.
Palate: Incredibly well balanced – rich and creamy with a slight medicinal hint. The smoke is always present and washes over the palate in waves.
Finish: The gentle smoke lingers and lingers.
First distilled in 1973, Longrow is the heavily peated, twice-distilled single malt from Springbank distillery, one of three produced there, and the only one to be double distilled. Longrow has been peated to around 50-55 ppm (pretty hefty), and while the peat level is comparable to Ardbeg, the type of peat is rather different. While Islay’s peat is largely composed of seaweed and moss, Highland peat used for Longrow contains shrubs and grasses that give it a much sweeter, friendlier taste. Less than 150 barrels of Longrow are filled each year. It’s peat, but not as you know it and is perfect for Islay fans looking for something a bit different.
Springbank Distillery, many a Scotch lover's cult favourite distillery, is the oldest independent, family-owned distillery in Scotland, with legal distillation beginning in 1828. There are few Scottish distilleries that still malt their own barley, but Springbank is the only distillery which malts 100% of its own barley, using traditional floor malting. The whole production process: malting, milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling, happens on one site in Campbeltown. This is unique in Scotland.
Three different single malt whiskies are produced by Springbank Distillery at their home in Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula. The flagship, Springbank, represents the vast majority of their relatively very small annual production of 750,000 litres. It is 2.5 times distilled and lightly peated. Longrow is their twice distilled heavily peated malt, named for a now shuttered distillery down the road from them in Campbeltown. The third, and smallest in terms of annual production, is Hazelburn (also named for a shuttered Campbeltown distillery).
Springbank Distillery was founded by William Reid in 1828 and was built on the site of the previously illicit still used by Archibald Mitchell. Like many smugglers, Reid didn’t survive long once he joined the legitimate trade and in 1837 financial troubles forced him to sell the distillery to his in-laws John and William Mitchell. The distillery has been in the hands of the Mitchell family ever since and is now ran by current Chairman, Hedley G. Wright, John Mitchell’s great, great grandson – the fifth generation of the Mitchell family to own and manage Springbank.
The 19th and early 20th centuries were a boom time for the Campbeltown area where Springbank is located. Thanks to a fast sea crossing to Glasgow and a small coal seam at nearby Machrihanish it became Scotland’s whisky capital. At some point or other there were 35 distilleries operational. The style tended to be medium- to heavy-bodied, with some smokiness and an oily texture (though each distillery would work its own variation on this theme). The distilling trade, however, collapsed in the 1920s. All of Scotland was affected with 50 distilleries closing, but Campbeltown was disproportionately affected, with only Springbank, Glen Scotia and Hazelburn surviving the Great Purge. By the 1960s only Springbank and Glen Scotia were left.
That is not to say Springbank was immune to the vagaries of the whisky trade. Despite beginning to build a reputation as a single malt, Springbank was mothballed between 1979 to 1987. On reopening, owner Hedley Wright made the momentous decision to no longer sell to blenders, but develop single malt sales. Maltings were re-opened in 1992 and while the combination of managing limited stocks – the result of the mothballed period and somewhat over-eager sales of what was left – it has taken a number of years to get the Springbank range fully balanced, which now it is. It remains, deservedly, one of Scotland’s cult malt whiskies and a template for many new distillers.
The Springbank distillery produces three uniquely different Scotch single malts: Longrow, Hazelburn and Springbank. The difference is achieved by using Springbank's three stills in different combinations as well as adjusting the peat levels. Longrow is the most traditional of the three; well-peated and distilled twice. Hazelburn is bereft of peat and enjoys a triple distillation and Springbank is lightly peated and, rather curiously, distilled two-and-a-half times. Both Hazelburn and Longrow have been revived recently after a few years of silence and both are named for ancient distilleries adjacent to the site.
Producer Springbank Distillery Style Campbeltown Peated Single Malt Scotch Whisky Age No Age Statement Volume 70CL ABV 46%