Once upon a time, a fabulous Mumbai based gal pal and I would alternate picking up a bottle of Longmorn 15 year then the 16 year as a reasonably affordable duty free dram. We certainly had a few good evenings spent over this whisky.
So it was only logical to consider acquiring a bottle to share with the Whisky Ladies. However… we COULD NOT track down a Longmorn 16 year. It had simply disappeared. All our various ‘whisky mules’ in far flung corners of the world also had no luck!
Until one rainy afternoon in Singapore I was on a quest for a fellow Mumbaiker for something else and found myself at Century Cellars. My eye spied a single Longmorn amidst a wide range of whiskies. The store manager admitted she had actually ordered it by mistake and it was the last bottle.
I immediately messaged my friend “You want?” (Knowing full well she was in the process of wrapping up life in India to move to Canada). And the answer after a few seconds consideration was “You bet!”
So the bottle went home to my friend and I kept a wee sample to revisit.
As the evening I pulled it out was unpleasantly warm, I first put my mini bottle in the freezer. Then poured a chilled dram and gave myself over to the experience… would it come close to the memories of amusing conversations with my friend about life, the universe and everything?
Longmorn 16 year 48%
- Nose – A bit woodsy, fresh spice, bourbon, as it opened but took on a lovely custard and lightly fruity minty quality
- Palate – Initially comes on strong, with spice and an alcohol ‘oomph!’. Then starts to reveal light crisp fruits like apples and pears, cinnamon toast, alternating between sweet and a chewy bitterness almost edging on a hint of tobacco leaf or peat, some spice, it has substance, perhaps not entirely balanced but enough elements to make it interesting
- Finish – Wood, a bit of bitter chocolate, dry…
Yes it initially comes across as a bit rough, but as you settle in giving it more time to open up, it becomes more and more enjoyable. I had enough in my sample to let it sit and found after 15 minutes or so it became much fruitier with oranges, capsicum, a curl of light leather and overall significantly more approachable.
And with a dash of water? Any roughness gone completely. Lots of fruits, even berries, from a dram that initially was a tad unbalanced, every element came together in harmony.
In short, if you rush it – you will completely miss what makes this actually more than just a decent dram. This is one to wait, give a bit of time… While there is nothing overly fancy, there is much more going on than at 1st appearance with the lovely chewy spicy fruity dimension that is most enjoyable.
Let’s be clear… this is the ‘old version’ not the ‘reinterpreted‘ version. From traditional brown to purple boxes… I was rather amused to walk into Singapore airport after feeling victorious in tracking down the elusive Longmorn 16 year to see its new avatar proudly displayed – with a significantly steeper price tag!
And the memories? Yes… this whisky will always be associated with my friend who is now happily in the process of getting settled in Canada. So it was worth saying a final whisky farewell with the Longmorn 16 year!
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