Thanks to /u/xile_ and Tim for these samples.
In Science, the greatest term is never Eureka, but rather “Huh, that’s weird”. What I do is not science, nor would I pretend it’s as important. However, though a series of events that we’ll charitably call fun accidents, I did have that weird moment.
Longrow 11 2007 Springbank Society is a special edition Longrow aged in Refill re-charred sherry butts. It’s one of those drams that, as a cask strength special edition, I’m typically happy to review and get the chance to try.
I’m here to say that I had the chance to try this three times. Because I’m a putz, lucky, and also it made a fun experiment.
So let’s dive into it, shall we?
Price: 135 Euros
Cask type: Refill Re-charred Sherry Butts
Number of bottles: 2,250
The first sample I received was at the end of a tasting. I realized at the last minute that I needed a small 1 oz bottle and grabbed one near my clean samples. Turns out it was there because my wife had handed it to me to clean. It still had gin residue in it.
Thus, this is the First attempt: With Gin flavoured bottle.
Colour: 10Y 8/8
Nose: Smokey pear, anise, mint, cloves, juniper/apple
Huh, wow, that has some gin notes to it. Some smoky aspects, but this really noses like a gin. I wonder why? Works though, good balance of sweet and bitter.
Taste: Juniper, char, almond, mint, caramel, brown sugar, peanut butter Wow, the juniper somehow punches ahead of that strong peat note. It’s almost like THERE WAS GIN IN THE BOTTLE YOU ABSOLUTE BELLEND!
Ahem. Sorry. I’m still a bit annoyed at myself for this one.
Works nicely once you get into it and more of the Longrow comes in.
Finish: Pear, BBQ, anise, mint, molasses, menthol, plum
Long finish. More of the Scotch comes out here, more of the spice mix well. Though my overload your senses, since both the Navy strength gin and the strong Scotch are both bringing in those powerful smoke notes.
Conclusion: Works really well mixed with Gin. All joking aside if you’re looking for a simple, simple change to a smoky whisky, a tiny splash of gin. I enjoyed this, and I’m typically not a big fan of gin drinks, so we’ve found something. What gin was in the sample you ask? Oh, yeah, that’d be great as a writer to include. And for the life of me, I don’t know. So let’s move on.
Second review, not tainted
So Tim handed me a sample as part of grabbing some beer for him. Cool guy. Didn’t realize he’d hand me an untainted sample.
So otherwise, it’s good to know this came from a half-filled bottle.
Colour: 10Y 7/8
Nose: Hay, red licorice, charcoal, chocolate
Cereal, more spice again (hey, without gin), some earthy/burnt elements. The sherry is well balanced with the smoke, there’s some good earth boost, and fuck it there’s chocolate so I’m excited.
Taste: Orange, BBQ pork, hay, sunflower seeds, cashew, banana
Nice acidity up first, good smoke development, a strong cereal/seed note, and even some fruit/funk with time. This does it all really quite nice. It’s brighter than expected.
Finish: Tobacco (floral, rich funk), carrot, orange, banana muffin/funk, gingerbread
Huh. Normally I don’t like tobacco, however here it’s wrapped up in some of the funk. The cereal note is closer to a quick bread, and water amps that up even more. Keeps with that acidity and rich flavour balance, though I’m missing some of the BBQ note/molasses I was getting before.
Conclusion: Rich, funky, herbal, love it. So much better without the gin. Try some of your whiskies without gin more often.
The acidity works throughout. If you aren’t a funk fan, it may have some issues at the end. However, somehow it keeps a great cereal note going on and on.
Third time, this time blind. So my buddy xile_ offered me the sample as part of a later tasting since I had the first whisky (which he brought). So I have it, blind. It’s the last ounce from his bottle.
Should be the same, right? Well… no.
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Licorice, tar, pineapple, coastal, mint
More spice, more of that tar/charcoal note, some salt has come out. There’s more of an acidic note here than before, less sweet/fake fruit. Not bad, but harder to pick out the sherry influence as much.
Taste: Pineapple, cereal, papaya, lime, caramel
More fruit, that cereal note is back. Actually given the sheer amount of citrus/acidity now in this, and given that I’m also at a Caol Ila tasting, I immediately think Caol Ila. Which is odd.
So less funk, still tropical, and more acid. Still do great on the cereal.
Finish: Honey, ash, cocoa, floral, plum, anise, farmy
Again, finish has lost some aspects (takes a long time for the funk), less of that quick bread element and more floral/honey notes.
Conclusion: End of the bottle had less fruity notes. It’s less funky but you can find that. That all said, this is still really nice. Before you had a rich, night ending dram. Now you have a well put together smokey, citrus filled dram that goes in cool directions.
So I guess don’t worry about losing out, because things get better? Yeah, let’s go with that.
Scotch review #1201, Campbeltown review #60, Whisky Network review #1847