It might come as no surprise that a sample of such a Longmorn comes from one of the Longmorn brothers. I’ve had it for a while and never really felt like the time was right for drinking it. When something has a score like this on Whiskybase (92.58pt), you want to pick the right moment.
When I finally did drink it, I was having a quite night in with my wife. The kids were in bed, and I had a good book in front of me. Also, I happened to be at one of the most awesome holiday cottages I’ve ever been to, which happened to be in Scotland. The setting sounded about right to me!
Longmorn is one of those old fashioned Speyside distilleries that doesn’t care much about visitors. They’re just producing whisky, right behind the BenRiach distillery. I might be wrong about this, but it also seems that independent releases of the brand are drying up a little bit. Last year saw some 25 (according to Whiskybase), the year before saw a few more. In 2022, as far as statistics go, there has been only one so far. A decade or so ago they were far more available.
Anyway, a very old one, bottled when I was just 10 years old. Surprisingly it’s still available, although the price tag has been slightly influenced by score and age. A bottle of this currently sits in a Belgian shop for a mere € 2400…
Lots of sherry, but not overly sweet. Quite yeasty, with some spicy ‘oloroso’-like notes. Orange, both pulp and pith. A grapeseed bitterness in the background. Dark chocolate too, with a surprising hint of bacon.
The palate is rather light and shows the low ABV. It takes a while to get started, but does bring a gently spicy note of chili peppers. Dry sawdust, some baking spices. Dark chocolate with orange zest, and that meaty bacon note.
The finish is truly beautiful and really brings the spicy, yeasty sherry notes. Some coal smoke, baking spices and a whiff of barbecue.
Whisky afficionados like to complain and compare everything to the good old days, before the stuff got popular. While there is something to be said for that, as well as something to be said for drinking the stuff that’s available now and comparing it not to stuff from half a century ago, but to contemporaries, I think whiskies like this show why the complaining happens.
Sherry casks from back in those days are not the same as sherry casks from nowadays. Neither is the whisky itself, with barley varieties, yeast strains and distilling regimes having changed quite a bit in the last few decades.
In this case, the sherry cask shows a true sherry character, with lots of funky and yeasty notes. In combination with the whisky it shows depth, complexity and lots of layers. Holy crap this is good!