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

April 7, 2014


Another bag of Longmorn

There are literally hundreds of independent Longmorns around, especially 1992s. But why not? They’re usually very good in my opinion…

Longmorn 1992/2013 (52.9%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 86 bottles)

Longmorn 1992/2013 (52.9%, Maltbarn, bourbon, 86 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s the typical blend of garden fruits with beeswax and paraffin. So a Speysider with rather more oomph and presence than others. With water: careful with water, because water on these paraffiny notes can create… a kind of soapiness. Let’s wait… After ten minutes, this all cool, the barley came out. Slightly farmyardy, which was expected. Mouth (neat): once again, a typical very fruity Longmorn. Apples, cherries, peaches, acacia honey, custard, beeswax and a little gueuze beer. It’s also very faintly fizzy – of course it’s not, that’s just a feeling. With water: fruits to the max. Cherries, tangerines, icing sugar, bubblegum, strawberries. Finish: good length, always very fruity. Comments: one of the fruitiest ones – once you’ve watered it down. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Longmorn 21 yo 1992/2013 (54.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 13014, 224 bottles)

Longmorn 21 yo 1992/2013 (54.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 13014, 224 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this one is unusual, much grassier, oilier and more mineral. So more austere. Sunflower oil, a little chincona, more paraffin than in the previous one, some custard… Not an extremely sexy one so far. With water: some green tobacco, tea, charcoal smoke… Mouth (neat): more fruits but they’re soon to be rejoined by a lot of grass, glycerine, some kind of bitter beer and quite a lot of lemon peel. I quite like this very dry style, but again, its not easy. Tickles your tongue a bit. With water: the fruits are out, but the grassy/spicy greenness remains. Finish: rather long, on green tart grapefruits. Comments: a good variant if you’re looking for more citric Longmorns. SGP:451 - 83 points.

Longmorn 18 yo (57.8%, The Whisky Exchange, Whisky Show 2011, 150 bottles)

Longmorn 18 yo (57.8%, The Whisky Exchange, Whisky Show 2011, 150 bottles) Five starsSee how fast I sometimes am ;-). This was probably another 1992. Colour: gold. Nose: a little hot and rough, but that’s the very high strength, I’m sure. Let’s not argue… With water: splendid. Olive oil, fruit salad, honey, orange blossom, pummelos, vanilla, maple syrup. Implacably sexy and elegant at the same time. Mouth (neat): ha, this is amazingly fruity, and rather more tropical than other Longmorns. A fruit salad made out of both fresh and tinned fruits. Melons, bananas, papayas, apples, oranges, even grapes… I simply love this, and even at this very high strength, it’s drinkable. With water: absolute perfection made fruit. Erm, whisky. Finish: quite long, with no touches of ginger and pepper to prevent it from getting too fruity. But can whisky be too fruity? Comments: the upper echelon. SGP:651 - 91 points.

Now, go beat that one… Unless we’re resorting to whisky-howitzers! Let’s try until e manage to beat the TWE/TWS’s stunning example, just for fun…

Longmorn-Glenlivet 10 yo (40%, OB for Claretta di V. Rosignano, ‘Highland Malt’, 1970s)

Longmorn-Glenlivet 10 yo (40%, OB for Claretta di V. Rosignano, ‘Highland Malt’, 1970s) Four stars An earlier ‘straight malt’ version was superb, but it had been bottled at 43%. Colour: straw. Nose: really lovely, less a fruit bomb than the TWE, and rather more ‘old Highlands’ in style, with more oils, rocks and old books. Its very subtle whisky, it’s not tired, it’s wonderfully balanced and it’s a very serious contender. It does have something of Old Clynelish, which is obviously great. Sea air. There are also many honeys, especially heather honey. Mouth: first, it’s very big for its strength and considering the long time it spent in its bottle. But then it got a wee tad too metallic, maybe, and a little too inky. Other than that, I love these grapefruits and tangerines, the notes of cider and all the other fresh fruits. Finish: not too long but beautifully fruity (citrus). AZ little fragile now, perhaps. A little cardboard in the aftertaste. Comments: lovely old thing. They’re not very expensive at auctions and even if some bottles can be less thrilling than others (such as this very one), they’re all worth the gamble in my opinion. SGP:541 - 86 points.

It seems that we’ll need heavier artillery, such as this…

Longmorn 1969/2011 (59.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #5294, 402 bottles)

Longmorn 1969/2011 (59.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #5294, 402 bottles) Five stars These old Longmorns by G&M can be simply unbeatable. Colour: amber. Nose: a little blocked because of the amazingly high strength, but one can feel that this is just a perfect fruity sherry monster. Not quite a monster, actually, it seems to be quite fresh and, just like the others, very fruity. Figs, raisins, chocolate, drops of old cognac, melon jam, oriental pastries… Oh well… With water: oh, no! I mean, oh, yes! Pipe tobacco, morels, tar, whiffs of gunpowder, ham… Mouth (neat): a.m.a.z.i.n.g. A work of art, a grandiose fruit monster, exceptionally fresh, zesty, partly tropical (the most wonderful blood oranges, bananas)… It’s really immense whisky, hard to beat indeed. With water: please call the anti-maltoporn brigade, thanks. Finish: long, immensely fruity. Liqueurs, jams and syrup but nothing cloying or sickly sweet. Comments: friends who are over-sensitive to gunpowder or struck matches might consider there’s a little too much of that in the nose. I think not. SGP:652 - 93 points.

Hey, there’s always room for one more…

Longmorn 35yo 1968/2003 (52.5%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, sherry, Cask #910, 210 bottles)

Longmorn 35yo 1968/2003 (52.5%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, sherry, Cask #910, 210 bottles) Five stars Colour: coffee. Nose: all right, perfect sherry. It’s not a very fruity sherry, it’s rather a very tertiary one, with some tobacco, leather, smoked ham, dried mushrooms, cedar wood, tea, tiger balm, rocks, cardamom, cinnamon, bitter chocolate… Well, indeed, after a few minutes more oranges and lemons do come out, making it fruitier. So far, so splendid. With water: earl grey tea and orange blossom. Tea in a posh pastry shop in Istanbul – or something like that. Mouth (neat): instant pleasure. What I particularly enjoy here is the fact that it’s both dry, say fino-ish, and fruity and sweet, so sweet oloroso-ish. Although the wording ‘sweet oloroso’ has just been banned in Jerez, as genuine oloroso cannot be sweet, unless it’s been artificially sweetened. Anyway, this is superbly balanced ;-). With water: very excellent. As fresh as fresh orange juice. Finish: long, juicy, fruity, with more raisins and a little mint. Remains fresh, which is quite a miracle. Comments: just lovable, and particularly easy to quaff despite the main style. SGP:651 - 92 points.

And another 1968 that should be much more ‘naked’ according to its colour…

Longmorn 35yo 1968/2003 (57.8%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 94 bottles)

Longmorn 35yo 1968/2003 (57.8%, Douglas Laing, Platinum, 94 bottles) Five stars This one should be interesting as most Longmorns from the late 1960s have been filled in active sherry wood. Not quite the case here, apparently… Colour: gold. Nose: we’re not too far from the style of the Whisky Show’s 18 years old, except that this one’s superbly polished, without having lost any zesty fruitiness. In fact it starts a little simple, on apples, oranges and just a little beeswax, but then it starts to rise and rise and rise, gaining complexity through many tiny aromas, most being of the waxy/oily kind. Pollen, more beeswax, old Sauternes, plums, cigarette tobacco, wax polish, wild flowers, touches of Barbour grease and shoe polish… With water: a leafiness is coming out. Some mint, incense, sandalwood… Mouth: really big, starting with quite some pine resin this time, eucalyptus drops, then we have apples, especially small dry ones (calvados apples), oranges, grapefruits and only small amounts of honey. Also fresh almonds. It’s quite superb and incredibly tense, almost young in fact. With water: sacrebleu! It’s now almost the same whisky as The Whisky Show’s 18yo. Big, big fruits. Finish: long, fruity and resinous. Did this baby age in pinewood? Comments: lovely old Longmorn that tastes young. Could be an Hollywood actress, in a way… Ha! SGP:561 - 91 points.

After 1969 and 1968, I think we should have a 1967 as well but after that one, I swear that’ll be it.

Longmorn 44 yo 1967/2011 (48.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, LMDW, Book of Kells, refill sherry hogshead, cask #592)

Longmorn 44 yo 1967/2011 (48.3%, Gordon & MacPhail, LMDW, Book of Kells, refill sherry hogshead, cask #592) Five stars Colour: coffee. Refill??? Nose: the oak’s impact is so huge that one could think this is an old bourbon at first nosing, but of course things change over time. There’s more and more chocolate, millionaire shortbread, praline, walnut wine, dried mushrooms, more cocoa, a little tar, earth… Also some heavy honey such as our beloved chestnut honey that I often mention. I really love this nose but careful, it could suggest the palate will be overoaked and too drying… Mouth: not so, which is a miracle. There’s more oak in the nose, which is very unusual with old whiskies. Now, there’s a lot of chocolate and cocoa indeed, strong black tea Russian-style, mint drops and cough syrup, stewed strawberries, something slightly smoky and then even more chocolate. Ganache. Finish: long but, indeed, maybe a little too drying now. Swallowing a spoonful of Van Houten cocoa. Now, orange liqueurs and drops of Jaeger in the aftertaste really do the trick. Something medicinal. Comments: I think this baby’s flirting with the limits at times but it remains a rather stunning old Longmorn. SGP:572 - 90 points.

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


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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