This is the sort of review I love, a review of a whisky from my favorite distillery, Springbank. Why do I love these reviews? Well my friends, Springbank just rolls out fucking bangers time after time, so I know I’m most likely in for an absolute treat. None of their whiskies sniff 40% abv (call me out on this I’m wrong) and damnit, I respect the hell out of that. There are three lines that all come from the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland: Springbank, Hazelburn, and Longrow.
We are talking Longrow today, which is their peated line of single malts. Their Longrow sees the bulk of their wine cask outturns such as their Red releases that all find their lives spent in red wine casks, along with a chardonnay single cask, and the whisky of the hour today, Sauternes Cask.
I get this question a lot, so what is Sauternes wine? Sauternes is from the Sauternais region of Bordeaux and is a sweet dessert white wine that develops its sweet and complex profile from a funky little thing called Noble Rot. I know what you are thinking and yes, its a fungus. I am no scientist, so all I know is that its a fungus that makes heaven in a glass. However, due to the complexity of getting that Noble Rot just right and the grapes having to raisinate the yields of Sauternes are not huge. I’m not sure if that is why you don’t see a lot of Sauternes cask finished whiskies, but my guess is that the casks carry a bit higher of a price premium than your reds and fortified wines.
Sauternes wine itself is incredibly delicious and complex so I would recommend to anyone that is curious about it to just grab a bottle for yourself and experience all the flavors it possesses. Better yet though, Sauternes casks work absolute magic with peated scotches (I highly recommend the Kilchoman Sauternes Cask for all my peat lovers out there). The sweetness and complexity of fruit take a good peated scotch to an entirely different level, so with that let’s just get after this review of the Longrow 9 Year Single Cask – Sauternes Cask!
The dirty details:
9 Year – distilled in November 2007
First Fill Sauternes Cask
$120 price tag
Color: In the glass, the whiskey is a light amber color. Really good looking development from the cask. Nice and oily as I would expect and has long sexy legs that go for miles.
Nose: The nose opens with a nice maltiness and sweet cereal. A lot of Sauternes cask influence shows its face with a nice inherent sweetness – sugar cane and candied grapes. The sweetness calms and the peat enters in subtly like a slowly burning fire on a coast side. Moist and peppery with some wet grass funk.
Palate: This bad boy starts out with some super barnyard funk. Lots of wet earth begins on the palate that opens into some really interesting charred citrus. The sugar is still present and intertwines with the peat and barrel to create a flavor similar to charred sugar atop a creme brulee and a toasted marshmallow. A light breeze of saline coastal spray provides that additional underlying layer of the ocean.
Finish: The sweetness of the palate keeps running on the finish. The smoke continues to dwindle into a perfumey floral smoldering fire. The richness of the finish is strong with notes of marzipan, sweet red apples, and ladyfingers. A dry aromatic tobacco coats the back of the throat and there were lingering coastal flavors of oysters with sweet shaved ice atop them.
Well, this Longrow 9 Year Single Cask was fan-fucking-tastic. The Sauternes cask provides an incredibly rich and sweet finish that just excels with the light smoke and coastal notes of this Campbeltown banger. There are a ton of complexities that are working in complete tandem with one another. Prepare your palate for a roller coaster of flavor as the different flavor layers will come and go as you drink it. The Longrow 9 Year Single Cask is a whisky that’ll reward you with something new every time you sit down with it. Approach with an open mind and a ready palate. I mean this in an absolutely not snobby way, but this isn’t no beginner single malt, no training wheels here. Happy flavor hunting my friends!
This bottle was purchased by me and as always, the words and opinions are all my own.