Today’s review is going to be about an expression which succeeds in highlighting the best flavors from two different worlds – Red Wine and Peated Whisky. Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish is the latest release from the Springbank Distillery‘s ‘Longrow Red’ series. This expression is limited to 9,000 bottles. The sample used for this review comes from a commercially purchased bottle.

Springbank Distillery is unique among others in Scotland. They release their products under 3 different brands. 80% of the production is released under ‘Springbank’ which offers lightly peated expressions. 10% of its production is released as non-peated whisky with ‘Hazelburn’ brand. The rest is marketed under ‘Longrow’ which includes heavily peated expressions in its line up.

According to the company;

“First distilled in 1973 Longrow is a double distilled, heavily pated single malt produced in Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown. The malt is peat dried for up to 48 hours to give the whisky a unique Campbeltown-style smoky character. Less than 100 casks of Longrow are filled each year”

This year’s Longrow Red comes from a spirit matured in bourbon barrels for about 12 years before being finished in fresh Malbec barriques for an additional 15 months. Barriques used for this process comes from De Toren Private Cellar in Stellenbosch, South Africa. For those who does not know, Malbec is a type of red wine. In the recent years it has become very popular among wine enthusiasts due to its strong juicy fruit flavors and crowd pleasing easy to drink character.

Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish comes at cask strength with 51.3% ABV. It is non-chilled filtered and does not include any coloring.

Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish

Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish Whisky Tasting Notes

Color: Rich amber color with a touch of reddish/pinkish tint…

Nose: Everything you would expect from a fruity Islay like delicacy… Gentle breeze splashing salty sea waters to your face, refreshing … Nice amount of peat smoke like coming from a nearby camp fire… Fruity aromas start to emerge a bit later… Warm and sweet like a freshly baked fruit cake or a compote… cherries, rhubarbs and maybe some plums… Darker notes on the background… burnt wood and some tobacco…

Palate: Hand in hand with the nose… Fruity sweetness is a bit stronger on the palate than the nose… Still not as strong as a sherry cask finish… everything is subtle and very well balanced… Warm compote with red berries and apples… Smokiness as if coming from a log fire adds warmth to the overall experience… Faint meaty flavors… Little bit of bitter notes in the form of dark chocolate comes out near the end…

Finish: Very long and silky smooth… Starts sweet with touches of fruits… Smoky dryness takes over in the middle leaving behind a nice, but not so sweet aftertaste…  

Longrow Red editions are one of the most anticipated releases of my whisky calendar. Red Wine finishing puts a very delicate touch to the not-so-delicate Islay character. The fruit flavors from the wine casks sweetens the overall character just the right amount without overwhelming like sherry finishes. Unfortunately due to their limited nature getting one is not an easy task. What is worse is that, when you finish a bottle, you know that you will not be able to find another one.

Longrow Red 13 Year Old Malbec Cask Finish Whisky Review
Overall Score90%
90%Overall Score