Review: SMWS Ode to Grown up George 7.114

It is frankly difficult to keep up with the Scotch Malt Society monthly releases that run like clockwork and attract more demand than a Kardashian public engagement. Like walking into a dram sweetie shop you’re confronted with a range of limited delights to tempt your wallet. All the time you’re aware that there is a huge queue behind you pushing to get in as well. 

Lately the SMWS have started doing preview releases which are small batches of the main releases normally a week or 10 days prior. I snapped up 1 of 12 of this Longmorn simply because the distillery is excellent. Called Ode to Grown up George this is of course named in honour of George Clooney who tied the knot around the time the tasting and naming of this bottle was being fashioned. 

Interestingly this 25 year old Longmorn started life in an ex-bourbon hogshead before spending 6 years in a 2nd fill barrique port cask. Whenever I see such a ploy I wonder why tamper with something as delicious as an aged Longmorn. It’s like uprooting the splendour of Edinburgh castle and plonking it down amidst a council estate (no offense intended) thereby removing part of the romantic appeal and splendour it had previously. Some refer to this trick as cask acing.

Recently I attended a social for owners of casks at a forthcoming distillery and this bottle appeared amongst a sizeable selection. To say it went down rather well is an understatement. Well, maybe this time around the change in cask has achieved something worthwhile?

Distillery: Longmorn
Distilled: 11th December 1989
Bottled: at 25 years of age
Strength: 56.9% vol
Outturn: 253 bottles
Cask: initially an ex-bourbon, then 2nd fill barrique port cask
Price: £110 (now sold out)

Colour: brown onion skin

Nose: this wasn’t the aroma-fest I was expecting and really needed some persistence to reach out and discover its contents. Lots of classic Jacobs crackers, weetabix and a little dash of rum soaked cherries. Then more sweetness with rose raspberry marcarons and sticky honey.

Taste: is disappointing, it really does lack any complexity whatsoever. I’m reminded of the mother-in-laws marmalade that she enhances with a dash of Balblair. Puff pastry, a selection of bar nuts and beneath the frontage I’m tasting the vanilla and oak trying to break out. 

This Ode to George isn’t for me. It feels as is we’ve thrown together a punch bowl concoction in a random, haphazard fashion and the result is a muted experience. Almost like defacing a respected piece of art I’m not really seeing what benefit the barrique port cask provides here other than tarnishing what went before. Anyone want to buy a bottle?


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