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Monday, October 17, 2022

Longrow 20 year old 2001 Springbank Society

Dear readers, this week I am reviewing a trio of single malts that were bottled within the past two months. Please know that I am okay, and that the appropriate authorities have already been notified. I promise I will not make a habit of this.

Also all three whiskies are from Campbeltown, so the remaining bottles are probably on auction sites already.

First up is a 20 year old Longrow, distilled in 2001. Something happened with a parcel of older Longrow casks. In 2022 alone there were at least 10 single casks that were dumped at strengths between 40.1% and 44.9%abv. Meanwhile, today's whisky was fashioned from a batch of six casks that resulted in a 47.9%abv cask strength, so there were likely some more very low strength, or sub-40%abv, casks in the mix. Were these a bunch of leaky casks or was this a warehouse issue? If you know please share in the comment section below, thanks!

For what it's worth, 47.9%abv is a damned good drinking strength.

Distillery: Springbank
Brand: Longrow
Region: Campbeltown
Age: 20 years (October 2001 - August 2022)
Maturation: six refill bourbon hogsheads
Outturn1,488 bottles
Exclusive to: The Springbank Society
Alcohol by Volume: 47.9%
(from a bottle split)


Very Islay on the nose as it starts with seaweed, antiseptic and lemons. Lychee juice, apple juice, apple danish and metal appear next, somewhere around the middle. Hints of farm and dried apricots stay in the background.

A very zingy (technical term) citrus smoke fills the palate. Mild notes of sweet, tart and bitter balance out in background. It improves with time as it picks up a combo of oranges + black walnuts + salty smoke, with bits of dry savory herbs and dried apricots around the edges.

Tangy lemons and smoky residue finish it off, with smaller notes of black walnuts and sweet oranges in the background.


Fans can keep chasing those wine-finished teenage-ish Longrows, while I'd be happy with any 18-21yo refill casks. This batch lands right between Islay and Campbeltown – at the Isle of Gigha? – delivering ocean, medicine and citrus. Nothing seems to have been wrong with any of the casks, though it falls a little short in development and complexity in the palate and finish, keeping it from the 90-point range. I'm left wondering, how many of Longrow casks will make it to 25 years?

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - I dunno
Rating - 88