lördag 4 juli 2020

Springbank 12yo Cask Strength vs. Longrow Red 13yo – 2020 editions!

Friends! Recently I was contacted by swedish importer/distributor Symposion asking if I was interested in reviewing some of their upcoming whiskies. There was a bunch of whiskies on offer but as I have previously done I chose to (only) sign up for some samples from Springbank Distillery

The samples I chose are the latest editions of Springbank 12 yo Cask Strength and Longrow Red (both bottled 2020). The reason for choosing them was that I actually did a versus/comparison/head to head of them two years ago (click here to read that article), and I thought it would be interesting to do the same thing again :)

Here in Sweden, both the Springbank 12yo CS and the Longrow Red will be available for purchase at the state monopoly this thursday and you can view them by clicking here and here. When it comes to recipe for the two whiskies these are the details:

Provided by Symposion

Springbank 12yo CS (12-15ppm) has for the 2020 edition been matured to 65% in bourbon casks and to 35% in sherry casks. The ABV is 55,3% and Sweden receives 540 bottles (number of bottles produced in total not stated). 

Provided by Symposion

Longrow Red 13yo (50-55ppm) has initially spent 10 years on a mix of bourbon barrels and refill sherry hogsheads (ratio not stated), and has after that enjoyed 3 years of "finishing" in casks that previously matured Cabernet Sauvignon from the Chilean Mont Gras' Intrigue Estate (located in Alto Maipo). The ABV is 51,6% and Sweden receives 660 bottles out of 9000 in total. Ok folks, lets review!

Springbank nose:
Lots of sweetness going on here folks! There’s sweet peat, sweet leather (caramelized leather), and the sweetness hanging around in the air from when you’ve just squeezed some lemons, and hey, there’s even some peated lemon peel in here! And of course the peatyness is also rather “heavy”, moist, and soil-y as it usually is when it comes to Springbank, but, I really must say that this is a cask strength version of Springbank that is really, really delicate and rather smooth; the ABV/high strength is hardly noticeable! The sweet fruitiness calls for almost all of the attention and below the “heavy” layer this whisky shows a softness and a creamy richness that is to die for!

Longrow nose:
Very “closed” at first nosing… first I only pick up mould and plank (newly cut wood) intermingling with almond paste in a preserve tin (meaning notes of metal), strange. Then I swirl the glass firmly and vigorously and now the dram opens up. Out comes glorious notes of old leather, redcurrants, lingonberry jam, very dry almond paste, the purple wine gums in Bassets, orange marmalade/orange zest in peated full fat whipped cream, and very un-ripe green grapes. In comparison to the previous dram the ABV/high strength is definitely noticeable in this dram and has a bite to it (so watch out). On the downside, unfortunately, the plank (newly cut wood) returns in a sort of discrete way (once you’ve picked it up you can’t not feel it). Cool stuff on the nose but do remember to give the glass a good old swirl before nosing.

Springbank taste:
Oh, the perfect strength! First comes a generous amount of saltyness and the bitterness from licking lemon peel (why did I do that?!), and then bam! Dry peat, dry smoke, heavy tannins, lots of grape fruit and a tad of red chilli. It’s all very fast indeed. In the second wave there is vanilla cigarillo graciously moving on into peated almond paste and seaweed infused with mellow lemon. The aftertaste shows fading peat, watery vanilla sauce and a whiff of mint. Wow, that was very intense and quite eventful. A very interesting and surprising flavour journey!

Longrow taste:  
It all starts off with a really vibrant phase of sour-sweetness from the red berries on the nose, and lemon pulp that has been over the top sugared, and after that it’s on to old somewhat lurky peat, peated vanilla, watery leather and milky almond paste. Unfortunately, after this it all just morphs into a sticky and bland almond paste and faint peatsmoke and that’s it folks... While the 12 yo CS is fast and surprising on the taste in a good way, this one is fast and abrupt and nothing really happens after the two main phases. It just fades away to a rather... boring peat. That's just too bad. 

Some reflections to sum up
Well, this time around the Springbank wins the trophy for sure; both its nose and taste is far better, in fact superior, to the nose and taste of the Longrow. Sadly and unfortunately I’d say that this years edition of Longrow Red is a bit of a failure… Looking at the price level the Springbank has all the advantage and appeal. 799kr (around €80) is indeed a catch! Sláinte!

A big thanks to the nice people at Symposion for the opportunity to review and taste these whiskies before their release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.
Borrowed from systembolaget.se
Borrowed from systembolaget.se