Monday, 8 October 2012

Longrow Red in Lochaber

Whisky is undeniably a product of its environment. In Scotland, in many situations, it is really the only drink to have. Say for example an Autumn break with a bit of walking thrown in and the landscape speaking to you with names such as Buachaille Eite Mòr, Stac a' Chlamhain or an Coire Dubh or the recently rediscovered originals of a' Chàrnaich (Glencoe Village), Baile a' Chaolais or Clo Mhuilinn. In the October sunshine when the mixed woodland around is starting to turn amber, a hipflask of your own last-drop-of-the-bottles-blend cannot be bettered. And, upon retiring to your bothy or cottage, what more could you want than an astoundingly good dram of Longrow?

Tradition is great. But not as a straightjacket. Whisky is a perfect example of an indigenous cultural product that has embraced the wider world. With Longrow Red, you have a Campeltown whisky that's borrowed from an Australian import of an Old World wine. Funnily enough, the Cabernet Sauvignon casks in which this 11 year old spent 4 years, come from the Long Row range of Ozzie wines.

And, it's good. Very good.

So good, that it had the Whisky Frau's nostrils pulsating with joy and her tongue exclaiming that its been a while since she tasted a dram so unusual and yet so damn good. In short, it's got a lot going on.

On the nose we got red fruits - strawberry compote to be precise for the my partner. The sweetness goes a long way to masking the smoke.

On the tongue, there's something a bit dirty and oily. An old leather bookmark maybe? Certainly something you can get your teeth into. On top of that there is another helping of fruit with peat. Strawberry bon-bons in peat stoor?

Finish is longish and unsurprisingly peaty with some more fruit.

Another superb offering from the Springbank crew - still independent and still going strong.

Finally, and back to Lochabar, I am ashamed to admit that I had never realised the extent of the Clachaig Inn's whisky menu. There's no point in going over it all here but should you be in the area, I'd recommend the Ben Nevis 25yo cask strength.

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