Dubai Dream Drams – Longmorn 25 year 46%

The Longmorn distillery has an interesting history – after building Glenlossie, John Duff founded Longmorn near Elgin in 1893, part of the Speyside region. He then went on to set-up nearby the BenRiach distillery too. What is also notable is Masataka Taketsuru, the man behind Nikka whiskies did a stint at Longmorn in 1920.

Today part of Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Holdings, it produces the official Longmorn 16 year bottle plus can be found in a collection of independent expressions like this one. The rest of Longmorn’s production lends a sweet, deeply fruity element to blends.

This 25 year old Longmorn graced our “Dubai Dream Drams” evening as the 4th whisky sampled…

Longmorn 25 year (1988/2014) Cask 14384 46% (Berry’s Bro)

  • Nose – What a nose! It immediately greeted us with ripe tropical fruits…. it really was sooooo fruity! Then shifted into an eggnog rich sweetness
  • Palate – While no doubt the fruits remained, they were joined by deeper notes – including speculation about a hint of peat, plus continuing our theme of the evening we also pronounced it “buttery”
  • Finish – Long, lovely

In truth, the scant scribbled notes I took that evening did not do justice to this whisky. It was truly quite superb in a class of its own. Sweet, substance and one to savour.

As for what they shared on the bottle?

The name Longmorn is said to derive from an old Scottish word meaning “place of the holy man”. Produced near Elgin, this malt whisky is high respected for its smooth, complex full character and heady bouquet.

The primary aromas give peach skins, tropical fruits and honey. There is some underlying grapefruit and pineapple to enliven the nose. The palate offers a creamy texture with abundant fruit and some white chocolate notes cut by a little spice.

As for other Longmorn encounters? Read on…

Here are are few more remarkable drams our Dubai host generously shared that evening:

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Berrys’ Speyside Reserve 46%

A complete departure was exploring less expensive (yet still elusive and somewhat exclusive) blends and mystery malts… We kicked off our evening with a Speyside from Berrys’….

berrys-speyside-reserve

Here’s what our Bombay Malt & Cigar club found:

  • Nose: Sour cherries that then sweetened into maraschino cherries dipped in chocolate. A little sulfur, ash smoke. Also a bit sharp with a citrus tang of orange peel. One recalled orange ‘Acqua di Parma’. Then a mustiness joined the tart sweetness. Shifting back again to bitter chocolate.
  • Palate: 1st sip of our evening and came across as a bit harsh – almost as though cask strength? Quite sharp. Once past the initial punch, a sense of sherry popped out. Glengoyne was mentioned…
  • Finish: Bitter berries, quite dry, like amla (Indian gooseberries)
  • Water: Needs it! Helped reduce the harshness and brought it to a more accessible level

This was one whisky where it seemed impossible it was only 46%. There was a real kick, much like what one tends to find in higher alcohol strengths. There were several remarks like:

  • “OK! My mouth is totally disinfected now!”
  • “Well that cleared my palate and sinuses alright! Did it singe my nostril hairs too?”

Did we like it? Mixed response…

However as the evening progressed, we found it was more approachable after sampling other drams and went well with the cigar.

What was the trio sampled?

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BMC Blends – Berry’s Speyside + Islay, Ghosted Reserve 21 year

I’m not going to suggest that the Bombay Malt & Cigar gentlemen are snobs but… they do enjoy the finer things in life. Our sessions began with an unspoken assumption that only Scottish single malts of a certain age and pedigree were worthy of our palates.

However a clear shift has begun… August’s ‘Affordable Adults‘ broke the £100 barrier (as in below). October’s ‘Blind Surprise‘ shook things up more by including an American (Westland Sherry Wood 46%) and Indian (Amrut Bourbon 62.8%) whisky.

However one member remains rather discerning in his whisky preferences. To have him come up with theme of blends? To say it was rather… ahem… uncharacteristic was putting it mildly. Hence why he kept all three bottles carefully covered in champaign covers to keep us fooled until the reveal…

Lest you think these were standard desi cheap blends, rest assured these were ‘proper’ Scottish whiskies… just not single malts.

Berry's Islay, Speyside + Ghosted Reserve 21

Berry’s Islay, Speyside + Ghosted Reserve 21

What did we try?

I had been keeping an eye out for the last one – the novelty of a marriage of three discontinued distilleries Ladyburn, Inverleven and Dumbarton was a lure I was curious to explore. Our host shared this blend was his starting point and rather than add to the mix other well known vatted malt’s like Monkey Shoulder, opted to explore offerings from Berry Brothers & Rudd.

Berry Brothers & Rudd are known as ‘royal retailers‘ and trace their origins to 1698, operating from the same premises in London’s St James’s Street. So while these were blends… the pedigree clearly remained…

And to top it off, the whiskies were paired with $400 cigars… no joke. Me’thinks the perception of ‘upper crust’ remains intact!

Psst – You will simply have to be patient over the next few days to read the tasting notes…

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