The following is a collection of bits of information
Longrow single malt is named after a distillery that existed in the 19th century — and is now the site of Springbank Distillery’s bottling hall. In order to make Longrow, the grain is dried with peat smoke for up to 48 hours. It’s messy and difficult and typically done only at certain times of the year, since it’s such hot work.
Casks: The Effects of Sherry
This is what aging in a sherry cask does. This picture is not retouched — this @Auchentoshen dram was pulled straight out of a sherry butt looking this way. Drinking this was like having fresh milk from a cow. Except it was Scotch not warm milk. And I didn't have to milk anything. The sherry that had been in this particular cask before whisky was put in it was #PedroXimenez.
The Bottling Line
The time I spent at the Springbank bottling hall, the folks there were were working on bottling some single casks for special release. Springbank has been a privately owned distillery since 1828 and still does every part of production on site, including bottling. In fact, it's bottling hall is located inside what was once the Longrow Distillery, when Campbeltown was the Whisky capitol of the world and there were 30+ distilleries in operation. That was over 100 years ago, and those other distilleries are long gone. (But the buildings aren't, and a visit to Campbeltown is well worth it — it's a beautiful place.)
The bottling line is a beautiful place to work — at least Springbank's is. Or in my case, to stand and ask the people actually working lots of questions as they let me push buttons, fill bottles and play with stuff.
Tasting: Campbeltown Scotch
In the world of whisky (and whiskey and wine and many other things), terroir can mean a lot. But one shouldn’t forget that people make this stuff. It doesn’t grow on trees or come straight out of the ground as is. We can experiment & change things & mix it up. Why not? Lighten up people. If scotch isn’t fun, why drink it?
This picture is from a tasting I gave of Campbeltown singlemalts: 3 different expressions from one distillery: @springbank1828 makes heavily peated #Longrow, iconic lightly peated #Springbank & triple distilled unpeated #Hazelburn. Some might compare #Longrow to an #Islay & #Hazelburn to an #Irishwhiskey. I think the Springbank folks would say they emulate nobody — they do Springbank. That’s where an independent tasting is fun: you can judge for yourself as someone points out what to notice, suggests how to enhance the experience and tell some interesting tales along the way.
Tastings: Lowlands in the Summer
I did a tasting for some folks who told me they had been drinking Scotch for years but were. not familiar with lowland whiskies. Summer is a good time to learn, because lowland style is perfect for hot weather. If you’re one of those people who thinks you only like a certain style of Scotch — or some other spirit — you might be surprised. That’s what a good tasting can do. It’s not about being pretentious and learning lingo; it’s about expanding your world and adding to the things that you enjoy.