Scotland’s ‘first’ NZ Pinot Noir whisky launched

Scottish distillery Springbank has launched Scotland’s first New Zealand Pinot Noir barrel-aged single malt.

The limited edition Longrow is aged in Pinot Noir barrels from Valli Wines in Central Otago (Photo: Springbank Distillery)

The limited edition Longrow is aged in Pinot Noir barrels from Valli Vineyards in Central Otago (Photo: Springbank Distillery)

The limited edition Longrow Red Pinot Noir 12-year-old Single Malt Whisky is aged for one year in Pinot Noir barrels shipped over from Valli Vineyards in Central Otago, New Zealand. The rest of the whisky’s ageing is done in Bourbon casks.

The cask-strength whisky is described as having “a cornucopia of fruity aromas – marmalade, strawberry preserve, fruit coulis and orange sherbet”, with “raspberry and strawberry jam with cream sponge” on the palate, along with “rich toffee, honeycomb and candy floss” notes.

A total of 9,000 bottles of the Longrow Red Single Malts have been produced with an ABV of 52.9%.

The barrels for the Longrow Red came mainly from Valli Vineyards’ Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir and were three years old, Valli’s owner and winemaker Grant Taylor said.

The oldest independent, family-owned distillery in Scotland, Springbank makes three single malts in its core range: Springbank, which represents 80% of production, is lightly peated and distilled two-and-a-half times; Longrow, which is more heavily peated and distilled twice; and Hazelburn, which is unpeated and distilled three times.

Previous versions of the Longrow Red single malt have been matured in Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Port casks.

“This is exactly the type of project Springbank thrives on: working with other independent and family-owned producers to create something that hasn’t been done before; this time maturing Scotch Whisky in New Zealand Pinot Noir casks,” said David Allen, Springbank’s regional sales manager.

“We did wonder how the much softer influence of Pinot Noir would compare to the bolder previous editions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, but ultimately believed it was something we should find out for ourselves first-hand.  

“After only six months the character of the Pinot Noir really began to show. After another couple of months we knew we were on to a winner and made plans to bottle after just one year in the Pinot Noir casks.  

“The Pinot Noir has had a fascinating, fruity influence on the whisky with lots of juicy red fruit notes, while still remaining extremely well balanced. We could not be happier with the result.”  

Longrow Red Pinot Noir carries a recommended retail price of £58.

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