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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

September 18, 2013


Longmorn as they come. Quite

Today let's have a few Longmorn old and new, in no particular order, picking them more or less at random from WF's sample library, except that the apéritif will be the official 16 years old. Some orchard fruits are to be expected... Oh and we'll be a little quick with the youngish ones, especially the numerous 1992s, because in my experience they're all pretty similar.

Longmorn 16 yo (48%, OB, +/- 2013)

Longmorn 16 yo (48%, OB, +/- 2013) Three stars The last 16 I tried back in 2009 had impressed me (WF 88) while earlier batches were more in the middle of the road. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts right on kirsch and plum eau-de-vie, with something slightly spirity but also nice whiffs of freshly cut apples and pears. Also some tree bark, broken branches, walnut skin and then more vanilla as well as touches of raisins. Classic, not too aromatic. Also hints of rubber rather less pleasant now. Mouth: some kind of malty fruitiness, with bitter elements thrown in. Chlorophyll, mustard, pepper on apple crumble and green tea. Same touches of rubber/leather as in the nose, not exceptionally pleasant here. And the kirsch is back too. Maraschino. Finish: of medium length, with quite some strong green tea. Drying aftertaste. Comments: this batch does not impress me too much, at least not as much as the ones from the very late 2000s. Less fruits, more bitter greenness. SGP:461 - 80 points.

Longmorn 1997/2012 (55.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #163310)

Longmorn 1997/2012 (55.4%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #163310) Four stars According to Whiskyfun's new Cray XK6 hybrid supercomputer, we already previewed this baby and liked it a lot. Colour: straw. Nose: straight on kirsch, almonds, marzipan and various other stone fruit spirits. You have to like that but I do. With water: some sweet beer comes out, maybe lambic style? Wash. Mouth (neat): clean, rich zesty fruits, between oranges and apples, plus sultanas, vanilla and honeys. That works very well I have to say, we're not far from the Nadurra's style or Glenmo Astar. Freshish wood? Yet the robe was very pale in colour. With water: perfect now. Impressive vanilla-ed fruitiness, full, round and yet lively. Nadurra style indeed. Finish: long, fruity, sweet. Comments: another dangerous one. Very dangerous. SGP:641 - 87 points.

Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2013 (55.5%, The Whisky Barrel, Burns Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #71773)

Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2013 (55.5%, The Whisky Barrel, Burns Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #71773) Three stars and a half Berry Bros and associated brands already had quite a few from this series of casks. Colour: gold. Nose: same profile as the official but with more raisins and other dried fruits, and almost no rubber this time. Apple pie, cherries, Seville oranges... All quite fine. With water: more toffee and fudge, maybe a little mint. Mouth (neat): a powerful combination of acidic fruits (kiwis, gooseberries, tangerines, lemons) with marzipan and, once again, a maraschino-like cherriness. A little wormwood and aniseed too. A little lemonady. With water: vivid lemonade and tonic water plus all the fruits, apples and cherries first. Finish: quite long, with even more tonic water. A wee sparkling effect. Comments: all good and quite fresh. SGP:551 - 84 points.

Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2013 (52.8%, Whisky Spirits, Whisky Seasons)

Longmorn 20 yo 1992/2013 (52.8%, Whisky Spirits, Whisky Seasons) Three stars and a half From the beautiful 'calendar' series, this one is July 2013. Colour: pale gold. Nose: there you go, we're extremely close to the Whisky Barrel. Frankly, it's the same whisky, more or less. rather more than less. With water: ditto. Mouth (neat): same, maybe a notch more candied but otherwise everything's there, the tonic water, the marzipan, the lemons, the cherries, the apples... With water: yes, same. Maybe a wee touch more farmyadry? Finish: yes. Comments: yup. Is consistency an asset to malt whisky? Discuss! SGP:551 - 84 points.

We've already had enough 1992s, haven't we. So...

Longmorn 20 yo 1990/2010 (50.5%, Adelphi, Haitian Earthquake Charity Bottling, cask #30029, 214 bottles)

Longmorn 20 yo 1990/2010 (50.5%, Adelphi, Haitian Earthquake Charity Bottling, cask #30029, 214 bottles) Four stars 10€ were donated by each buyer and 10€ were added by Adelphi. They raised 4,500€ in total! Colour: straw. Nose: immediately both more complex and cleaner, with no mash, no yeasty side and no rubber. It's a fruit salad, in fact, with apples and cherries fist, then oranges, pineapples, pears and ripe kiwis. Add to that one spoonful of honeydew and a little almond milk plus orange blossom water and you've got a great desert. All that's in there. I feel water isn't needed. Mouth: excellent. It's got this wee prickly side that the 1992 often have as well, but then all these oranges and various other fresh fruits really do the trick. Nice green pepper and cardamom as well. Finish: quite long, very fresh and just as dangerously drinkable as the 1997... Comments: and that means I'll give it just the same score. Now, true charity bottlings (not stinky media stunts) are all worth 100 emotional points, aren't they! SGP:651 - 87 points.

Let's go further down - this is becoming a true verticale, isn't it.

Longmorn 20 yo 1986/2007 (54.3%, The Whisky Experience, 260 bottles)

Longmorn 20 yo 1986/2007 (54.3%, The Whisky Experience, 260 bottles) Four stars I think this was a brand that The Whisky Exchange/Specialty Drinks. Colour: straw. Nose: very similar to the 1990, just a notch drier and less emphatically fruity, but as always, that may come from the higher strength. So, with water: even nicer, with some artisan cider and, well, apples and pears. Mouth (neat): everything fruity and even candied is there but there's also a little plastic and cardboard, which isn't very pleasant. Maybe water will make that disappear? With water: that worked, there's much less of that and much more fruit salad and fresh oranges. Finish: now totally clean and zesty. Pretty long. Comments: most certainly a very good one, although it's maybe not as immediately pleasing as the 1990. A little more complicated, perhaps? SGP:552 - 85 points.

And now a young old one, with much more sherry this time...

Longmorn 12 yo 1984/1996 (58.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, SherryWood)

Longmorn 12 yo 1984/1996 (58.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, SherryWood) Four stars and a half Sherry and Longmorn can be like Jagger and Richards (What?). Colour: amber. Nose: we're all on coffee-schnapps, or rather schnapps-coffee. And then we have the usual chocolate, Corinth raisins and prunes. And maybe strawberry jam. Big sherry, big stuff. With water: good flints and dark chocolate are joining the table. It's still a notch rough though, maybe it would need thirty extra-years in glass? Mouth (neat): whaah! High impact orangey sherry, with loads of Seville oranges. A very thick baby, this. With water: swims well but not fast. I mean, it became easier but didn't develop any further. Remains thick and roughish. Finish: long and jammy. Always Seville oranges and marmalade. Comments: don't get me wrong, it's superb whisky, it's just that it lacks a little polishing so that it could reach 90 in my book. And you have to like sherry monsters! SGP:741 - 88 points.

Longmorn 32 yo 1976/2008 (54.7%, V.C. Whisky Club, cask #5895, 125 bottles)

Longmorn 32 yo 1976/2008 (54.7%, V.C. Whisky Club, cask #5895, 125 bottles) Five stars A whisky club that selects a 1976 Longmorn can only be a great whisky club. Colour: gold. Nose: the complexity is arriving! This is becoming more tertiary than all the others, with these earthy touches that no young whisky can display. There's also some beeswax, honey and various herbal teas such as verbena and chamomile. Tobacco, rocks, oranges... With water: superb farmy notes, a wee gamy side (but this ain't sherry) and an even bigger minerality. Wet limestone. Mouth (neat): big! Oranges, marmalade, mint, cough lozenges, oils, zesty white wine, pepper... All great. Maybe even touches of peat, I know where that comes from. With water: more marmalade, limejuice, a wee inky side, almonds... Just great. Finish: long, zesty, with more mint or maybe eucalyptus drops. Comments: perfect Longmorn at a perfect age. What a vintage (almost) everywhere! SGP:662 - 91 points.

Hmm, we now have a benchmark, it'll be more difficult for the next ones but these kinds of challenges are even more motivating. To the taster! But we may have to use heavy artillery now. Such as this other 32yo...

Longmorn 32 yo 1969/2001 (56%, Coopers Choice, Sherry)

Longmorn 32 yo 1969/2001 (56%, Coopers Choice, Sherry) Five stars Tremble in fear, mere mortals! (that would be yours truly). Colour: deep amber/coffee. Nose: absolutely fabulous! It's not that I desperately need to further massage my adjectives, but this a totally perfect fruitcaky (?!) sherry monster. Everything is perfect, the coffee, the woods, the cigars, the chocolate, the flints, the spices and, yeah, the fruitcake. All that's maybe missing are more tertiary, gamy/meaty tones. With water: yeah, you bet! Its there, cloves, cigars, jamon iberico, soy sauce, spices... But the fruitcake keeps the upper hand! Mouth (neat): oh my oh my oh my. It's not whisky, it's concentrated whisky. Dazzling dried black fruits, liquorice, wood spices and chocolate. It's immense. It's not that that wasn't expected, but this is even bigger and better than I had thought. With water: please, the number of the anti-maltoporn brigade is (+44) 131 222 9200. No, no, please don't call that number, that's the Scotch Whisky Association! Finish: a bed of roses. Right, of fruitcakes. Comments: brilliant, like old sherried Longmorns could be. A style that any whisky lover should have in his cabinet if you ask me, because this style of sherry is almost gone forever. SGP:652 - 93 points.

All right, while I was game for many more, after that winner I think it's better to have only one last Longmorn today. We'll save the many other old glories for later. Why not for Christmas this year? So which last one should we have?... Maybe another 1969, but one's that's much lighter in colour for comparison? And since we already had a great Adelphi, why not another one?

Longmorn 30 yo 1969/1999 (56.7%, Adelphi, cask #4249)

Longmorn 30 yo 1969/1999 (56.7%, Adelphi, cask #4249) Four stars and a half One of the very early Adelphi bottlings (bottled when we still had good eyes ;-)). Colour: gold. Nose: have you ever opened a beehive? It smells just like this. Wax, pollen, honey, wood... But a beehive doesn't have any loud passion fruits and mangos, which this baby does have. A little unexpected I have to say, but wonderful. Very 'nervous' for a 1969 Longmorn, the zesty freshness is incredible. With water: more beeswax but also more almond oil, argan oil, sesame oil (is that enough oils for you, Serge?) and orange zests. Mouth (neat): massive grapefruits, kumquats and bergamots that play first fiddles, with passion fruits and grapefruits at the cellos and, well, nobody at the doublebass. There's also a fabulous rooty/earthy side, with rather loud notes of... gentian! Hurray! (I know, I know, you can buy a great bottle of gentian for 20€, but it just cannot bear the cachet of a 1969 Longmorn). With water: hold on, it does not swim well! Some cardboard, paraffin, plastic and soap come out, it's not massive but it's much noticeable. And yes I'm using my usual Vittel, never, ever tap water. But to hell with water! Finish: very long, utterly great when neat, a little soapy when reduced. Comments: I'm in a moral dilemma. This baby's well worth 92 or 93 in my book when naked (the whisky, haha), but only around 80 or less when diluted. I think we'll score this terrible swimmer...  SGP:662 - 88 points.

I agree we need a very last one. An older one, how about this little baby?...

Longmorn 44 yo 1966/2011 (43.1%, Gordon & MacPhail for Limburg, Book of Kells, refill sherry hogshead, cask #281)

Longmorn 44 yo 1966/2011 (43.1%, Gordon & MacPhail for Limburg, Book of Kells, refill sherry hogshead, cask #281) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this is something else, we're in old wine territories, meaning that everything became tertiary, complex and, I have to say, unusual. First, it's quite flowery, and I find notes of many roses and peonies. Maybe even lilac. Then, there's this kind of resinous side that sits right between putty or plastictine on one side and eucalyptus and mint on the other side. It's a pretty rare feeling. Then there's a little benzoin (perhaps), fur (grandma's mink) and, bigger than that, old books and magazines. Add to that the much more common walnuts and apple peelings and you've got a pretty good picture of this unusual nose. Hopefully! Mouth: yeah, this is very unusual. The wood has taken over a bit but it's not a drying oak, or too much tea or cardboard, we're rather having many oils and other compounds that hint at pinesap or even carbolineum. I remember that Cadenhead's had some ultra-old Irish from long gone distilleries that also had this kind of profile, only much bigger. Also lavender drops - nothing to do with FWP in case you're wondering - and then orange marmalade and honeydew. The honeydew is getting bigger and bigger (you may call that for or pine honey). Finish: of medium length, sappy, with this feeling of plasticine again. Comments: it'(s a tough one, because you could see several aspects as either flaws or assets, depending on your tastes. What's sure, in my humble opinion, is that the spirit has extracted many oils out of the wood over the years. And yet it's no dry whisky! SGP:372 - 88 points.

We'll do more Longmorn verticales in the near future!
(With thanks to Angus, Benjamin, Govert and Konstantin)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Longmorn I've tasted so far







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