Longrow 13yo 1993/2006 (57.1%, OB, Private Bottling, for MacMhuirich, Currie & Wilkinson, Cask #635)

This is a sample I have lying around for a very long time. I last tasted it last some ten years ago, and there was definitely something wrong with this. Just have a look at the review posted by Serge. yes, he’s a big fan of this one! Ten years ago I found it pretty odd as well, but come to think of it, Springbank make such good Whisky, what must have happened for it to be so “strange”, and for it to be bottled? Today I’m becoming more and more a fan of Springbank, feeling they can’t do anything wrong. In these days of NAS (some bad, some good), Springbank are able to churn out one good bottling after another. NAS or no NAS. So this less than half full sample got plenty of time to balance itself out with some air, so let’s see how this private cask of MacMhuirich, Currie & Wilkinson will do in 2016. Sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?

Longrow 1993 Private Bottling Cask #635Color: Light gold.

Nose: Light peat, but not much and some burning plastic. Herbal lemon. Deeper down a more buttery note. Fatty with hidden sweetness. Slightly burnt wood (toasted cask), fresh dried oak and an acidic off-note. Bread, butter, paper, cardboard (they all go together) and caramel. Toffee even. Next some crushed beetle. In my case an accident, because I’m not cruel to animals, but once I’ve gained the experience, I’ll never forget the smell. Well, it’s in this Whisky. (Tobacco) smoke and cold charcoal. Hints of menthol. It is a nose that wants to be dry and spicy, not fruity. It’s not floral, but may very well have been. Add to that a creamy, butter and toffee and you have this in a nutshell. Very well hidden is the aroma of new make spirit, a sweetish Vodka aroma. Sure, this is (still) lacking in balance a bit, but it’s not as bad as it was ten years ago. It did get better with “some” air. I actually like how it smells now.

Taste: Sweet, but with a lot of bread and paper notes. Floral plastics and vegetal. The initial sweetness works well with the relatively high ABV. Sweet sugared yellow fruits. Sugared apricots. the body itself is not so sweet. Interesting. Damn, this is really about vegetal paper. Paper, cardboard, wet paper, pulp. It’s hard to impossible to get past this. The paper notes overwhelm the entry and the better part of the body. When this dissipates, an acidic note shows itself which just is wrong. Towards the end of the body, the Whisky also becomes slightly soapy. Yeah, lets add to the plastic pleasure. Hey, now I get some smoked eel skin as well as the aroma of an ash-tray and sweet jasmine powder. What a Whisky. This has quite a few flaws, so maybe it’s good the finish is not very long (and hardly an aftertaste).

If after Serge’s review (and mine) you still want to buy it, be advised that you should let this breathe extensively. And I do mean extensively this time. It will help the nose along, the taste however is beyond repair. I wonder what went wrong here. It probably wasn’t the spirit going into the cask, but was the cask somehow contaminated? Rotting bung cloth? A fungus maybe? In the end not a complete dud, so I won’t be scoring this 55 Points like Serge, but for a Longrow this is not a good score either…

Points: 80

Atlantico Private Cask (40%, B2-2009-BLAA, Dominican Republic)

Another Atlantico. This one is called Private Cask, but since it is widely available, I’m not quite sure what they mean with private. One for the book of (not so) funny names perhaps. In most markets this Rum is only slightly higher in price than the Reserva I reviewed last. However, they took the time and effort to supply this particular bottling with a nice looking cardboard box. I don’t know why, but I have higher expectations for this one…

Atlantico Private CaskColor: Orange gold.

Nose: Fresh sweet and acidic. Lots of fruits and first come the citruses. Sugared lemon and lime, but also tangerine. More wood. Virgin oka, but also some polished wood. This version is more aromatic than the Reserva and shows more wood and pure class. More happening, less light. Nice to see some more oak in here compared to the Reserva. This Rum definitely needs it. Hard to get past the lovely oak (never overpowering), but behind that some old orange skin. Meaty. It almost smells like a Oloroso Sherry finish. Nice dry and dusty smell on top. Way to go!

Taste: Fresh Sugar cane juice and again some thin honey. Although not bad, I did expect a bit more at first. Nice light woody bite and again some orange skin. Luckily the Rum picks up pace and starts to shine. All is here, toffee, vanilla and caramel. Even some slightly burnt caramel and maybe some toasted cask. More staying power than the Reserva. Great balance and offers more complexity, but still isn ‘t very complex itself. Highly drinkable. Nice sugared fruits and a slightly bitter and woody backbone.

Looking around, this Rum seems to be slightly more expensive than its Reserva brother. The Reserva in my opinion is too light. This private cask has more confidence and shows itself more. For the small difference in Money, this one has a lot more to offer. The Reserva is quite good, but in itself pretty obsolete, when the Private cask is around. For me a no brainer, especially considering the small difference in price.

Points: 84