Ah, there truly is nothing like a blind tasting of Longrow Red 12 Years Old to realise that you can know a decent amount about whisky and all the stories, flavours, processes and whatnot, but ultimately trying to pin down what’s in any given glass is exceptionally hard for us mere non-Master Blender mortals.
This blind tasting challenge pits myself against talented writer of AmateurDrammer.com and a thoroughly nice, well-bearded chap too in Andy Flatt. If you have not read his website, you are missing out; and if you see him at any shows around the country give him a tap as he is a great fella to share a dram with.
Sadly the blind tasting of Longrow Red 12 Years Old has taken months as the sample he sent me initially, because it was rightly unmarked, went walkies for around seven weeks, having been put into a box with other samples in the ‘queue’ for review. Spookily, the morning I finally found it, Andy had just an hour previously sent a replacement after I had fessed up to thinking I had lost it. Thanks for the double sample Andy!
Anyway, on to the blind tasting of Longrow Red 12 Years Old
Let’s just say this up front; I did not get the region, the brand, the age, nor the finish, but that’s the fantastic thing about blind tasting; it does make you think more, it does make you question yourself and makes you open your mind more to what you are experiencing, not just what you think you should experience when you open a bottle.
If I had known it was a Longrow, arguably my dram du jour currently, I would have fired in ‘peaty, meaty, beefy whisky notes’ and a whole load of other things, but as I didn’t, my note to Andy read thus:
Nose: Burnt sugar, maybe even spun sugar, clementines, smoky sherry waft… orangey through and through… some wine notes, but not overt…
Palate: sweet, bitter chocolate… smoke again but muted, lots of juicy, wine-laden dark, stewed fruits… thickness with time, slight sulphur note – very appealing… Terry’s Chocolate Orange! Maybe a little potpourri on the finish…
Unless I’m mistaking the smokey note for something else (sometimes I get sensitive to it for some reason), I would say an aged expression of The Dalmore; 18? That orange note is so strong! Tho feels too high an ABV for a release from The Dalmore… AHHH.
He promptly told me I was wrong, 215 miles wrong to be exact but now I’ve sat with it longer, I was not as far out as I had thought; I had the smoky notes and had the wine notes so not all bad, although the orangey note threw me big time, as did the assumed ABV.
What a great test and thanks again to Andy for the two samples for blind tasting of Longrow Red 12 Years Old. Let’s do it again!