Whisky Advocate

BIG news for Longrow fans!

February 26th, 2008

For the first time since the legendary 1973 and 1974 vintages, Springbank will be releasing very limited quantities of a new 18 year old Longrow. The whisky was aged in refill sherry casks and will be bottled at Springbank’s standard 46% ABV.

While it is true that consistent annual production of the peaty, smoky whisky produced at the Springbank did not start again until 1992, small amounts were produced in 1987, 1989, and 1990.

Since they didn’t make Longrow in 1991, there won’t be another bottling of 18 year old next year.  In fact, according to Kate Wright of Springbank, the stocks of Longrow are so limited that their current plans are to not release another Longrow 18 until 2011 (in equally limited quantities). And then not again until 2013. There won’t be regular stocks of Longrow 18 until 2015 onwards!

According to Kate, the core range will be the new Longrow CV, Longrow 10 and 100 proof, and lesser quantities of Longrow 14. This range will be peppered with occasional limited releases of various wood finishes (such as the Barolo wine finish) and the rare 18 year old.

Older expressions of Longrow will remain in limited supply for the next several years because Springbank didn’t really crank up production of Longrow until 1996 when Frank McHardy returned from his stint at Bushmills. (Frank, God bless you for that!)  This also explains why the distillery is releasing the new Longrow CV–it includes 6 and 10 year old Longrow, along with what I assume is a much smaller amount of 14 year old whisky.

And for those of you from the U.S. who are reading this: get your order in now. According to Preiss Imports, the U.S. importer, only 120 bottles are destined for the U.S. and should become available in June. When I find out the price, I will post it up.

I’m also getting samples of both CV and the 18 year old, so I will pass on my thoughts as soon as I taste them.

12 Responses to “BIG news for Longrow fans!”

  1. John Hansell says:

    The U.S. importers of Springbank just informed me that the Longrow CV will retail for approximately $65, while the Longrow 18 will list for around $280 (providing there is no additional price gouging by retailers). And while the formal released date is June, it might come in a little earlier.

  2. Mike Dereszynski says:

    John,
    Thanks for the update.
    As a lucky drammer who has tasted the 18 and the Gaja Barolo,Im looking forward to acquiring a bottle of each as well as the CV.By the way it may not be in in the U.S. but I know the Gaja is out and going for $79.90 VAT/$66.30 Ex VAT in Edinburgh.Time to call in those favors with anyone you know going cross the pond !

  3. John Hansell says:

    Mike, the Gaja Barolo finish is coming to the U.S. It might even be on the same shipment as the CV.

  4. BJ Reed says:

    I still have about a 1/2 bottle of the 1974 – Its great to hear Springbank is finally releasing new expressions but its also frustrating how poorly they have managed their inventory. Sounds like they have straightened that out but we will continue to feel the effects for years.

  5. John Hansell says:

    BJ, I am lucky enough to have several different expressions of the ’73 and ’74. I had a great relationship with Joe C at Sam’s at the time the whiskies came out, so I was just in the right place at the right time.

    Yes, Springbank did go through a “rough patch”, as did many distilleries in the 1980s. It looks like that, in a few more years, they will be back running on all cylinders.

  6. Louis says:

    John

    I like the way you say ‘additional price gouging by retailers’, above what is already built into the $280 list price. This is really a topic for another time and place, but it would be nice if the distilleries and importers would throw a bone every now and then, to their loyal customers who have supported them up to now.

    Slainte.

    Louis

  7. Marcus says:

    Hi John,
    they did make Longrow in 1991. Maybe they have nothing left in the warehouses of the 1991. I’m the owner of a 10 year old 1991 Vintage. I bought it ~6 years ago in Germany.
    I have already tasted the Longrow 18. And I agree with you: It’s the best Longrow since the 1974. From my point of view the Longrow 18 is as good as the 1987 Vintages from Samaroli (15Y with 55%, 15% with 45%,…) from single bourbon casks.
    In Germany you can get the Longrow 18 for ~135 Euro.

    Slainte

    Marcus

  8. John Hansell says:

    That’s intersting, because Springbank told me that they didn’t make any Longrow in 1991. Perhaps they made some which, as you suggest, they might have sold already. The 18 year old certainly rocks! –John

  9. Harvey Fry says:

    they not only made Longrow in 1991= it was th’first vintage dated 10 year
    old to come over here. in fact, so much of it was brought over that Sam’s
    had trouble selling their substantial position & ended up dumping it for $43,
    a bargain that we’ll doubtless never even come close to seeing again.

    Longrow 10/91, 46.%, originally retailed for (w/10% discount=) $51,
    later reduced to $43 at Sam’s.

  10. John Hansell says:

    Yes, I rmember when the 10 first came out. I remember it having the ’91 vintage on it. I think that they were telling me that they no longer have anything from that vintage (or very little).

  11. Randy says:

    Well, here it is a year later and a local distributor is closing out its inventory. It has 6 bottles of the Longrow 18 available for $199 each. Should I grab as many as I can, figuring I can always sell them? Just grab one to see if I like it? It will be interesting to read your recommendations. Thanks.

    • John Hansell says:

      Randy, why don’t you go buy one. Open it up and have a wee taste. If you like it, go back and by another one (or two), depending on your financial situation.

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