Longrow Red – 11 Year Old – Pinot NOIR 53.1% ABV

Coming back to the wonderful Longrow 11yo Pinot Noir, now that the bottle’s been open for a couple of months. When I last wrote my notes on it, I was hugely impressed and it immediately became a firm favourite and one of my most memorable discoveries (I wasn’t familiar with this distillery before I bought this bottle)!

This 11-year Campbeltown whisky from Springbank Distillery has been matured in bourbon casks before being moved over to Pinot Noir barriques from New Zealand for a three-year finishing, with only 9000 bottles released.

Appearance: Auburn, very autumnal. Invitingly deep gold with thick viscous legs that take an age to sink to the surface.

Nose: Very little ethanol, you can smell all the aromas that, I’m sure, the distillery intended. Hot blackberry and cherry jam very much take centre stage, and dark fruits for miles also! There is a smokiness obviously, but the other aromas don’t so much dominate but upstage the last influence. Deep and intense, this is such a wonderful nose! There are cinnamon, satsuma and allspice berries too. Great balance all around! After the glass has matured for a while, chocolate notes behind dominant and it turns into black forest gateau, with cherry and fresh fairy cream.

Palate: Luxuriously buttery, jam-like mouthfeel, which just oozes quality, as it costs the mouth. Smokey bacon jam, a touch of cherry wood smoke. Some malt and cereal in the background. Then there’s stewed fruit, pastry and custard, this is actually like drinking a Christmas dinner pudding. It could be a sherry trifle, Christmas pudding or a fruit pie with custard. It’s all in here, but without being overly complex, it’s just superb.

Finish: Insanely elegant sweetness, the finest touch of spices, maybe black pepper and traces of menthol. Beautifully warming towards the end, which leaves you totally content and satisfied that you’ve chosen a seriously good whisky.

Overall: if anything, this already fantastic whiskey, has matured, evolved and morphed into an even more stonking drop. Easily in my top 3 for 2020, possibly ever. This is sublime, it’s the perfect Christmas whiskey, indulgently rich and deep as hell. If you can find a bottle at a reasonable price, buy it. Even though I have 2/3 of the bottle left, I’ll be hunting at least 1 more bottle down, before they become auction fodder!

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