So here we are finally with a first review of the Longrow Red. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is my very first bottle of this series! Call the newspapers! But it had to happen sometime, right?

I have never been the biggest fan of red wine cask finishes or maturations (or any wine cask finish or maturation for that matter) and despite ongoing rave reviews and people trying to force this bottle on me, stubborn as I am, I never thought of buying one.

However, over the years I have come back a bit from my point of view because in the meantime I have tasted quite a few nice single malts with such a finish or maturation. And that the Longrow spirit can handle these kinds of casks very well, I experienced first-hand after tasting last year’s festival bottling, which really blew me away. In fact, that bottle may have been one of the biggest surprises of 2020 for me. So all stubbornness aside, I bought my first Longrow Red. Whether it is good (of course it is)? We are now going to find out!

This Longrow Red has matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in refill Malbec barriques. Bottled at 52.5% ABV.

Longrow Red 10 year old tasting notes:

Nose: Berry galore! Red berries, blackberries and sweet strawberries, almost candy-like. Quickly followed by a whiff of peat. Then I get a candy that reminds me of my childhood. They look like pears (a red fruity candy with sugar on it, who knows the name of this candy?). Then minerals and a touch of lemon. A farmyard smell and later also vanilla.

Taste: oh very nice… Milk chocolate. Followed by all those berries again, but instead of the red berries, I now have raspberries. Lemons again too. And a little bit of smoke and a hint of pepper.

Finish: mid-long to long and a bit drying. The Peat is more pronounced here. Milk chocolate. Oranges and it’s slightly peppery.

So so good! Only 10 years old but what a nice thick mouthfeel and great balance. This is the textbook example of how red wine barrels can actually add something without it becoming overpowering. This may just be my first Longrow Red purchase, but it certainly won’t be the last!