Sometimes when you write these articles, reviews or whatever you want to label them as, the material just flows. That’s why I prefer to sit down at the keyboard when engaged and enthralled. Such moments become straightforward but when faced with a whisky that just doesn’t resonate or humiliate, things become tougher.
Longmorn itself doesn’t inspire much motivation or even emotion. The keys on the board fail to tip tap toe to a new rhythm. The only recent passion around Longmorn in recent times was the diatribe with its range revamp towards the tail end of 2016. Remember that? The criticism it unleashed from all corners of the internet was magnificent. Well, with the exception of the usual suspects who didn’t even seem to comment on the ridiculous prices whatsoever after a slap-up Chivas meal.
Let’s just remind ourselves of this hare-brained scheme. The affectionately remembered 16 year old was punted and replaced by a new vision, featuring the same age statement but a new recipe and a significant price hike to approximately £250. Funnily enough, just a couple of years later and a quick search online amongst the retailers confirms its now fallen to a modest £90. A confirmation that the get rich quick scheme has clearly failed. It’s still above what we were shelling out for the original and enjoyable Longmorn. The new recipe in the bottle hasn’t found too many new followers, nor the Distiller’s Choice which has become the choice of no one else bumping around £50. You can imagine whoever came up with this revamp at Chivas HQ either being told to pack their things and go, or being relegated to a small desk in the underground carpark to forever place Chivas Regal bottles into those tacky royal cloth sacks.
We haven’t even touched upon the Titanic of all whiskies and the greatest Longmorn folly of them all. Yes, the 23 year old expression. Representing the pinnacle apparently of Longmorn in the usual tasteless packaging this has become a guaranteed dust gatherer. An asking price in excess of £1000 soon – like the 16 year old – came tumbling down with bottles being snapped up for around £400. Folly on a magnificent scale and rivalling Mortlach for the honour of most inept and badly implemented revamps of recent times. Give it time though and we’re sure at Malt there will be other nominees… Speaking of which the recently revealed Talisker Bodega Series seems like a good candidate. A 40 year old Talisker finished for a brief spell in a sherry cask. Price £2,750.
After all that venom we should have a little love for Longmorn? If you have the old 16 year old release squirrelled away somewhere I’m sure you do retain that soft spot. Quite rightly as this distillery has a touch of class and style about it. Recently I discussed in my – yet to be published – Spirit Still batch 1 article how we can only truly discover whisky when we detach ourselves from the official releases and even distillery names themselves. Cast aside those inhibitions and run into the ocean naked or at least in whisky terms head off the beaten track. For many fans of Longmorn without an adequate supply of the aforementioned deleted 16 year old, this is the only avenue left open. This older bottling may date from 2010, but its part of a bigger agenda to re-engage with all things Longmorn now that the taint of the revamp has finally departed.
This Longmorn was distilled in 1992 before being released at 17 years of age. Residing in a 1st fill bourbon cask #48431, just 112 bottles were extracted at a strength of 53.6% strength. My thanks to Noortje for the sample and the stunning pictures that I just want to print off on glossy paper and have framed for my office, or maybe a calendar?
Adelphi Longmorn 1992 – review
Colour: chewed toffee.
On the nose: apples and a light caramel, followed by more brown sugar and sweet cinnamon. Water is really beneficial with a splash it reveals candy floss, confectionary and wine gums. It’s very oaky at first with hickory chips and drying – give it time and the fruit aspect does come in with lychees and stewed apples, also oddly carrot peelings and basil leaf.
In the mouth: gentle and restrained, a touch of greenness before it goes all popcorn-like followed by a creamy malty aspect. There’s a peppery malted loaf finish and midway there is a chalky mineral aspect. Returning, some dark chocolate but a low percentage, more wood chips and currants.
I was going to score this a 5 initially but the time lapse between drams and that touch of water certainly lifted this up a notch. However, it feels like blending stock from this cask. Glimpses of promise and what may have been quickly snatched away. Still, fun to experience and how good is the lead photograph?