Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 20

20 12 2014

Well, whisky friends (and long-suffering wine readers who are just dying for Advent to be over – hang in there), we’ve reached Day 20 of the KWM Whisky Advent Calendar.  Only 4 more whiskies left until Christmas, which means we’re on the home stretch, gaining momentum to go out with a bang…right?  Maybe not so fast.  When I opened tonight’s calendar window and saw a familiar black cardboard box staring back at me, my thoughts could entirely be summed up with:  “Again?”

Not the little black box again.  (Sorry Campbeltown.)

Not the little black box again. (Sorry Campbeltown.)

Yep, it’s scotch #3 from the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown, completing the collector’s set of whiskies from the producer’s 3 sub-labels:  first came the Hazelburn 12 on Day 13, then came the Springbank 10 two freaking days ago, and now we get the Longrow N.V. Peated Single Malt, a whisky with no age designation at all (meaning that at least a chunk of it was made from quite young malts).  If you’re wondering how many whiskies from one producer is too many in a 24-day calendar, the answer is 3.  The Longrow retails for $64 and is a solid value for that price, but I can’t see myself coming back to it.

You definitely don’t need the helpful label hint to tell that this is a peated whisky:  there’s a smoky medicinal funk at the forefront of the nose that could only come from peat treatment.  This is joined by layers of hickory, bacon fat, tar and (full credit to the Longrow website for this last add-on, which I didn’t think of initially but is totally accurate) toasted marshmallow.  This is a tremendous smelling whisky, one I would have been happy to nose all evening; unfortunately the palate doesn’t quite live up to the scotch’s olfactory promise.  The alcohol is a little punchy, even at 46%, making the addition of water a necessity.  The peat is strong but certainly not overwhelming, but there’s not a ton to back it up:  some apple-y fruit, char, Vicks VapoRub, but not much more, and not a ton of flavour integration either.  If we’re supposed to be hitting a crescendo here once the Advent dates start with 2, this one missed the mark.

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