WHAT IS IT?
Name: Red, Malbec Cask Matured, Aged 13 Years
Make: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: Malbec (sometimes called Côt and Auxxerois) is a purple grape variety used in making red wine and is grown predominantly in Argentina. Malbec is known for its blackberry, plum and black cherry flavours and a sweet tobacco finish – a perfect match for a peated whisky perhaps?
WHY DID I BUY IT?
I have been chasing a Longrow Red for a long time and snapped up this expression when it became available locally. Longrow Red is a limited release from Longrow and each batch uses casks seasoned with different red wine varieties. For this batch the spirit was aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished for 15 months in fresh Malbec casks sourced from Stellenbosch in South Africa. This particular batch is limited to 9,000 bottles worldwide and Longrow Red expressions are usually only available in very limited quantities outside of European markets.
WHAT DID I THINK OF IT?
Presentation: Keeps with the current Longrow white labelling with the use of red helping to denote this as a Longrow Red expression.
Appearance: Dark orange in the glass, amber in the bottle. Naturally coloured and turned cloudy in the glass for me; a product of being non-chill filtered, not a fault. Bottled at 51.3% ABV.
Aroma: Clear tobacco notes with a restrained, not overpowering smokiness. A little fizz in the nostrils, red orchard stone fruits and rasins soaked in alcohol.
Flavour: A delicious full mouthfeel, sweet fruits at first with building spice as the liquid warms in the mouth. A slight bitterness like coffee beans, balancing the initial sweetness before the prickly spice takes over.
Finish: Long powerful finish, dark chocolate aftertaste, the slightest tingle left on the tongue with a mild warming in the chest and a lasting smoky kiss.
WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN?
My chances of finding this particular expression again are slim, but I would definitely buy other Longrow Red expressions when available. Use of ex-wine casks is quickly becoming a signature of the Australian whisky industry and Longrow Red is a great example of what the Scots can achieve matching ex-red wine casks with a peaty Campbeltown spirit.