Longrow 18 y.o. (2015?) Review

Longrow 18 y.o. (2015?)

46% abv

Score:  91/100


Consistently one of my favorite whiskies going – and certainly one of the best 18s out there (especially in light of the tragic fall of Highland Park 18) – it’s always a treat to revisit Longrow 18.  I think I’ve shared notes on two previous versions of this classic from Cambeltown.

The heel of this austere and elegant single malt from the Springbank family was shared my way by a good mate of mine, Danny (last name withheld for legal reasons…he’s wanted in most states and provinces).  He and I went back and forth a couple of times trying to figure out whether this 18 is the 2014 or 2015 version and haven’t really reached a conclusion.  It was bought in 2016 in a place that flips inventory fairly regularly, so let’s assume it’s a 2015.  Either way…newish.

Ultimately, as if often the case with good whisky, there’s less to talk about here than with bad whisky.  Suffice it to say that this batch has been held to the same uniformly high standards as all previous editions I’ve tried so far.  It’s refreshing to see a distillery keeping their standards high and endears me even more to one of the best in the biz.

I wish prices were lower, but hey…Springbank has always had a fairly high price point (the nature of doing it all yourself and in a craft style with lots of employees).  At least they’re delivering the goods, but it’s hard to talk about value for money here, when discussing sub-twenty year old single malts at nearly $200.  Such is.  This would seem to be the new norm.  Anyway…the quality is high enough here that I don’t cringe nearly as bad at the price tag as I should.  (Having said that, no…I didn’t buy this.)

Thanks again for the chance to try this one, Danny.  You’re the man, cool guy.

Nose:  Soft white fruits.  Chewy candy notes.  A faint hint of latex (older barrels in here somewhere?).  Red jujubes.  Apple pie with light cinnamon notes.  Pear.  Melon.  Suede.  Gentle peat.  Noses older than 18.  Love it.

Palate:  Very tangy.  Some orange and leather.  The peat has a great ebb and longer to it.  Soft spices.  White baked dessert notes.  White fudge.  Beautiful mix of fruit and peat.

Thoughts:  Lovely old school style.  Expensive (at about $200 a bottle), but rather exceptional.


– Images & Words:  Curt

10 thoughts on “Longrow 18 y.o. (2015?) Review

  1. skeptic

    Sounds good. David came across a Longrow Burgundy wood (age stated, I think 12 but can’t remember off hand) for less than $90 at a CoOp liquor just outside the Stoney Trail ringroad up north. It was fantastic. It was my first Longrow.

    I’d love to try a high proof Longrow without a wine finish.

    1. David

      The Burgundy wood is a 14 YO. for $95 (tax in) it’s steal! It’s that good. Of course, judging by the fill level after you were done with it, you know that…

  2. Old Bridge

    The production data are on the bottle near the bottom below the label. Try shining light at different angles on it and it will be visible.

  3. kallaskander

    Hi there,

    not an easy one. The was a Longrow CS 10, 14 and 16 yo but afaik the last one was bottled around 2013. All other stronger than 46% abv expressions have been finishings.
    But that is Europe of course.

  4. Ol' Jas

    Same in the US, I think. I’ve never seen a straight bourbon-matured Longrow at cask strength. (In fact, I think that goes for all of Springbank, at least the OBs.) The Longrow Reds are pretty great, though, so I’m not complaining to hard.

  5. Ol' Jas

    Tell me more about this tragic fall of Highland Park 18.

    (I only had it once in a bar, so I have no context to compare it over time. That once, I found it very nice but it didn’t wow me or anything. I mostly ask because I have it on the buy list for my whisky club, knowing that a few guys in the group would love to see it appear on the table sometime.)

  6. Ol' Jas

    “Springbank has always had a fairly high price point (the nature of doing it all yourself and in a craft style with lots of employees).”

    I think we’re mistaken if we expect production costs to explain the relative prices of whisky. Rather, I’m sure every bottle of whisky costs what it does because that’s what people are willing to pay and because that’s what price the seller has chosen as part of their overall marketing strategy.

    And no fault to them for that—this is how business works. It’s only undifferentiated goods like iron ore and soybeans that end up priced according to their production costs, because one seller is the same as the next.

  7. Cameron

    I’ve always wanted a bottle of this. Glad to see your positive review… Maybe I’ll look for one when I’m in Calgary next..


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