Thursday, January 24, 2008
Longmorn 15 yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
It has been a while since I had a Longmorn. The last one tasted on the Malt Mission was the 16yo bottling (that is replacing this 15yo expression) back at Malt Mission #69.
John Duff, ambitious distiller and founder of Glenlossie, Longmorn and BenRiach (in that order), was bankrupted (1909) in the wake of the Pattison crash(1898). In 1919, Longmorn permitted the young Japanese chemist Masataka Taketsuru to serve an apprenticeship at the distillery. He went back to Japan and founded Nikka distilling company.
In 1978, Seagram's (who owned Chivas, a blend to which Longmorn is a major contributor) took over the distillery and increased production by adding more stills but stopped the floor maltings on site, choosing instead to use the malting facilities at neigbouring BenRiach. Today, most of the 3.5 million litres of output is used for blending where it is widely regarded as a 'top-dressing'. It is also a darling distillery of the independent bottlers from Adelphi to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
This Longmorn 15 is well-priced in Ontario and is currently (January) on offer at the excellent Royal Mile Whiskies. It also won 'Most under-rated whisky' at the 2006 Drammies, the excellent People's Choice whisky awards created by the inspiration to dozens of whisky-blogger imitators, Kevin Erskine (The Scotch Blog). Don't forget to vote in this year's awards! Voting ends at the end of January with winners announced soon afterwards.
Nice handfull-scoops of aromas. Cherries, Christmas cake, almond/marzipan. Crisp, which is a ridiculous descriptor, but it IS. Crisp, fresh, like mint or leaf stems. But moist, like dew on a nastersium. More fresh fruit with the cherry now; apricot, banana, citrus. Complex but balanced.
Slightly salty initially, cooked vegetable, then sweetens to gummy bears and clover honey. Some spice with ginger, cinnamon and pear, bay leaf. Drops of sandalwood and a slight metallic tinge. Ends with sweetness again, the ripest of fruits in your basket, tea made by a well-intentioned friend who thinks one sugar means one tablespoon of sugar. Sweetness restrained by oaky, oily notes.
Balanced, complex, and a joy to drink. I remember there was as short time when I lived in Edinburgh that RMW was selling this for £20.99. How lucky we were. No big brand name, no complicated packaging, but this Longmorn doesn't need any of those things to be enjoyed by whisky drinkers everywhere and loved by this one this morning.
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