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:

Want even more Whisky Lady posts? Follow this blog on:

Gordon + MacPhail – Longmorn 2002/2015 43%

Last but certainly not least in our Gordon & MacPhail evening was a whisky from Longmorn.

Longmorn Distillery is found between Glen of Rothes and Elgin. Its name is derived from the Gaelic, Lhanmorgund, which means “place of the holy man”. This is a reference to the church which once stood there. Prior to the distillery being built in 1897, there had also been a grain mill on the site. R.J.S. McDowell considered Longmorn to be one of the top four malt whiskies.

And what did our Whisky Ladies think?

Longmorn (2002/2015) 43%

  • Nose – Bacon! Yippee!! Then overripe fruits, creamy custard, nutmeg and such yummy eggnog, a bit of spice, ginger bread, shifted to sweet spices, peanut brittle… all this before the 1st sip!! Then… wool jacket with smoke, more fruits
  • Palate – Curious quality, black liquorice, peppercorn, so sweet, soft tobacco which took a long time to develop… smooth
  • Finish – Musky smoke, comforting wrapping around like a warm blanket with a black liquorice chaser

One remarked how it was like an “elegant man” and a yet also a bit of an old dandy.

I’ll admit I had a moment before we opened the bottle of dread… what if it was a disaster? The last Longmorn we had was less than stellar…  yet the Longhorn of old was a character – a most enjoyable one at that – so our hope was it would lean more towards such a style.

And the verdict? A complete hit. Sweet but with substance. Just the right element of a hint of smoke, sweetness from the sherry 1st fill hogsheads.

On the bottle, the notes confirmed it is from 1st fill ex-sherry hogsheads and described as:

Delicate Sherry notes with stewed apples, pear and traces of tobacco. The palate has white pepper initially with banana and orange flavours complemented by a creamy milk chocolate chip.

Here’s what the folks over at Gordon & MacPhail have to say on their website:

Without water:

  • Aroma – Delicate Sherry influences with vanilla, stewed apple, and cinnamon spice. Hints of dried tobacco and cream soda are complemented by milk chocolate aromas.
  • Taste – Sweet and creamy initially with mild chilli spice developing. Liquorice, orange zest, and toffee flavours followed by a milk chocolate edge.

With water:

  • Aroma – Delicate Sherry initially with fresh green apple, sweet hay, and banana aromas with hints of toasted pecan nuts.
  • Taste –  Peppery with green apple, grapefruit, and charred oak flavours are complemented by a mouth coating milk chocolate and Brazil nut edge.

Would we agree?

The affordable G&MP trio featured:

This bottle was purchased at The Whisky Exchange for GBP 48 and freshly opened in November 2017 for our Whisky Ladies.

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Gordon + MacPhail’s Affordable Trio – Glendullan, Aultmore, Longmorn

I’ve long been a fan of Gordon & MacPhail – finding they deliver consistent quality for value – even in their younger or entry level ranges. I decided to test this by deliberately selecting a few of their most affordable offerings – all around 50 GBP – for a special Gordon & MacPhail evening with the Whisky Ladies in Mumbai.

The purchasing was easy thanks to help of a friend who stopped by The Whisky Exchange in London. The gradual import into India took a bit more time. What required the most patience of all was waiting for an evening to share with the Whisky Ladies!

Two of the whiskies selected were from their “Connoisseurs Choice” range which was started in the mid-1960s by Gordon & MacPhail to bring to whisky aficionados whiskies that were less readily available as a single malt at an overall reasonable price range.

One was from their “Distillery Labels” range using unique distillery designs once used ‘officially’ to bottle the whisky under license from the distillery, now in disuse except through a special relationship with Gordon & MacPhail.

The Whisky Ladies Gordon & MacPhail trio featured:

Fabulous each one in its own unique way…. 

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

The elusive Longmorn 16 year 48%

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!”

The thing is, when we pulled this out after the rather delicious Bowmore White Sands with the Whisky Ladies, it was simply too rough and I’m afraid it missed its mark.

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 amused 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 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 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!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Longmorn 24 year (1990/2015) 53.7%

Next up in our quest for a fabulous cask strength whisky around 100 pounds was Longmorn…

Now once upon a time the Longmorn 16 year was easily found on duty-free shelves, however it has become increasingly scarce… For quite some time now, a fellow Mumbai whisky lady has a standing request for any traveling folks to pick her up a bottle… in vain.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to a fine specimen. To graduate to 24 years and cask strength? This was anticipated with bated breath…

longmorn-24-year

Longmorn 24 year (24.09.1990/04.08.2015) 53.8%, Hogshead 216 bottles  (TWE The Single Malts of Scotland)

Here is what we found:

  • Nose – Sugar, spice and all things nice! Caramel, cardamon, toffee, yet also had fresh citrus zest, a sense of being oily, woodsy, sweet yet complex
  • Palate – Tasted like it smells… that oily quality was quite welcome, rose and orange peel
  • Finish – Dry wood, burn
  • Water – Kills the nose, to the extent it took on a wet bread quality, and the palate became curiously flat

Here we found a cask strength whisky that was optimal at cask strength. Water simply didn’t do it any favours – quite the opposite for us.

If the Linkwood was summer, the Longmorn was autumn… the discord between aroma and palate found in the Linkwood was in complete accord here, singing the same note in harmony.

Again we set it aside to see if it further evolved. The glasses with water were disappointing. The pure cask strength retained the earlier elements adding a sweet drizzle of dark honey.

What else did we sample in our trio?

PS – My friend and I eventually tracked down the “elusive” Longmorn 16 year – persistence pays off!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Cask strength quality? Linkwood 24, Longmorn 24 and Balmenach 26

Thanks to mad travel schedules, the Bombay Malt & Cigar club held our session early November… this time on a quest for cask strength quality below 100 pounds. All were from the prodigious Speyside region yet none were distillery bottles – two were from The Whisky Exchange with their Single Malts of Scotland series and the last from Signatory.

linkwood-balmenach-longmorn

Here are the bottles sampled in our quest:

As for whether we were successful in our quest? Jut click the links above to read about our experience…

For more related updates and activities, check out: