Sometimes consistent releases are great. Sure, the odd, random whisky is a lot of fun. And finding them is exciting. Probably part of the reason most of us, if not myself, love to review.
Heck, most of the time my reviews are for whiskies that are sold out or I’ve just gotten to. It’s partially to figure out the theme of a distillery and where it’s currently at (quality wise) but where it’s been.
Sometimes the yearly reviews are boring, sometimes they aren’t. One that hasn’t let me down yet (knock on wood) has been the Longrow Red line.
This limited run comes out each year and has the simple idea of Longrow spirit (the peatier spirit made by Springbank) that’s been matured or partially matured or finished in a wine cask of some kind. It’s been port once and all other times we’ve explored different red wine casks. The whiskies themselves age between 11 and 13 years old.
Longrow 11 Red Cabernet Franc is the most recent offering. Cabernet Franc is well known to me, as a Canadian, as we tend to show it off by itself as a varietal for winemaking, versus the more traditional usage as a blend. Don’t worry, we blend with it too. And ice wine it sometimes.
So we have a very versatile red wine that most have stated never gets better than “alright”. Also, there are people who don’t like the Longrow Red collection. They’ve had some good whiskies and some alright ones. I’ve personally loved it, but I like odd casks and peat. Also, it’s easier to get in Canada than other places, so it’s one time where I can review something attainable for me.
Enough about the politics. How does Longrow 11 Red Cabernet Franc taste?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Casks Used: Ex-bourbon barrels for 9 years, then into Cabernet Franc casks for 2 years
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: BBQ sauce, anise, cinnamon bun, funk, banana bread
Interesting. It’s initially more peaty than I expected, with lots of molasses and cinnamon bun. Funk eventually comes to the party, and water brings out more to the funk, with some banana.
Always be the person who brings a banana to the party. Potassium deficiency is no joke.
Taste: Anise bell pepper sauce, caramel, cereal, strawberry, grass
Earthy. Very earthy. We need the banana guy to show up to this part and he’s at home making a split. And the banana girl doesn’t show up either. Both are main funk people are missing.
On the one hand, it certainly has some spice to it, and I like that. On the other? The earth is hogging the spotlight, and I want more fruit.
Finish: Blondie, mint jelly, basil, funk, lemonade, banana
Finish lightens things up with more of the molasses, more of that funk I wanted, and some citrus. However it’s separate from what we went before, so it can’t help the taste.
Conclusion: Solid, lots of different flavours on the aftertaste. The nose is the most interesting part, however looking back at my review, I realize that what I enjoyed about this whisky is all Longrow.
Yes, Longrow is good. To me. I am biased. I love funk, I love cinnamon, and I love molasses flavours. However, the red wine here just turned some of that off on the taste.
This whisky is good. Not great, just good. I don’t feel bad about trying it or having part of a bottle. No one will be angry at a cask strength Longrow. However, the red wine portion is missing. It’s not a miss, and I’m certainly not angry about it, but I’d reach of last year’s over this one.
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