Whisky Review: Gordon & Macphail Reserve Longmorn 1966 Aged 44 Years Bottled for Van Wees

Style: Sherried and Dignified

Nose:
Extraordinary amount of red rates, cranberries, black currants, walnuts, oak and wood varnish dominating the aroma. Incredibly sherried, dense and slightly acidic. Underneath the sea of sherry sits a nice golden malt, fragrant white flowers and stewed fruits. Curry leaves, peat smoke and minimal sulphur which resembles smoky chicken broth. Slight metallic tang. Gentle prod from spearmint whereas green grass overtone rising into the air. Cornflakes and strawberry jam towards the end. Very nice.

Palate:
Dense, tart and tightly-assembled dark sherry unleashed onto the palate. Assorted red fruits, Oloroso signatures but it also tasted like an oxidised Madeira as well. Walnuts, almonds, sultanas in chocolate ice cream. The fruit spectrum slowly widens to glazed pears and kumquat. Icing sugar and saw dust. Subtle wood smoke lighted up by flint sparks. Roasted duck salad with cherry sauce, peppermint strawberry ice tea and green tobacco leaves. The sherry and the malt realign at the back, chocolate malt with touch of espresso to finish.

Finish:
Sherry, sherry, sherry, no surprise here. Dark forest cake, malt and stewed tropical fruits with a touch of smoke. Sweet and delicious.

Thoughts:
Distillate from the 60s are rare as hen’s teeth these days and I am proud to own (and drink!) a piece of liquid history which illustrates an “old school” style of whisky-making in that era. This ultra-matured sherry bomb is so rich and dense that the subtleties had a pretty hard time to penetrate through the thick sherry armour, they are there, but patience is required. My friend and I discussed and agreed this is probably a paxaratted cask, it was a common practice at those times after all. Personally, I prefer to see more of the distillery character, but who I am to complain when this is all sweet and delicious?

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[44.3%| Independent Bottling| 1966 Distilled| 2011 Bottled| Single Cask| Cask Number: 5063| Bottle Number: 138 of 283| First-Fill Sherry Butt **]

-Esmond

Dram Review: SMWS 7.159 Longmorn “From Tree to Tarte Tatin”

[52.6%・24 Years Old・ Bottled in 2016 ・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 234 Bottles]

Nose:

A sense of wholesome goodness from the freshly heated up legit diner apple pie, fresh strawberries seasoned with aged lemon flakes. Aged Sherry in the works with a hint of mushroom umami to keep things classy and stately.

Palate & Finish:

Apple juice, with Maraschino cherries, polite though with just a pinch of cinnamon. A real balance from the Sherry oak influence with just a hint of pineapples.

Maple syrup brushed on ripe red apple flesh, a certain chewiness that adds to the sense of being fulfilled..

Thoughts:

Juice box for the considerate adults, for me growing up it’s Just Juice.. and when you think about it that’s kind of endearing..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail The Book of Kells Longmorn 46 Years Old

[51.3%・46 Years Old・Distilled in 1964・Bottled in 2010・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling for Japan Import System・Cask No. 1033・Single Cask Release of 165 Bottles]

Nose:

The kind of excellence you sort of take for granted from a heavily Sherried Book of Kells bottling, not very distillery specific anymore as one would understand.. but not overly heavy and woody either.. Horween tanned Cordovan and dark chocolate, prunes and figs poached in muscovado sugar with cinnamon dust with this aged ginger note.. again, it’s excellent.

Palate & Finish:

The wood shows a more stately presence on the palate, the creaminess of the Sherry wood merges well with a basket of poached forest fruits and dark raisins and nuts.

Christmas pudding with warm black cherries and dusted with cinnamon, the hint of vanilla sauce lingers on with the oak..

Thoughts:

Generically excellent, properly and substantially Sherried, the wood does indeed make the whisky.

Not sure how particularly Longmorn this is but how often do you still come across Sherry casks like this?

If I keep being good and may be with a bit of luck I should like to dram this at a quiet bar in Japan for a Sherry Christmas.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas


Dram Review: Laird Club Longmorn 33 Years Old

[43.7%・33 Years Old・Distilled in 1974・Bottled in 2007・Laird Club Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Ahh, this is a proper Sherried Longmorn.  Mineral, with gorgeous cyrstalised raisins; French vanilla brushed over black cherries and orange marmalade, well oaked with dark chocolate ginger and this fixation provoking lace of dirty diesel smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Delicious rush of syrup drenched prunes and figs, caramelised sugar and minerals joined later on by leather and tannins as the dram becomes more chewy, bitter chocolate coating the slightly toasted orange peels.

Glimpses of eucalyptus and mint as the brown sugar cookies crumble into a lasting finish of dry, attractive bitterness.

Thoughts:

I could nit-pick and say that this is perhaps a touch on the tannic side, and perhaps there’s too much mineral as well, but the truth is everything else is correct.

An Australian bottling, and a world class Longmorn.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilled 1963

[40.0%・39-40 Years Old・Distilled in 1963・Bottled in 2003・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Dried strawberries and leather, old time-y Sherry in such an elegant, creamy manner with the oak just lightly adding to the depth and balance.

Palate & Finish:

Light mouthfeel of dark fruits and dried ginger, sugared cream with a late burst of blackcurrant conserve and Maltesers.

Rounding off gracefully with the malt creaminess brushing against some milk chocolate and blueberry jam.

Thoughts:

The classic G&M Sherry cask delivered softly.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 (Cask No. 508)

[45.0%・57 Years Old・Distilled in 1961・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Cask No. 508・Single Cask Release of 97 Bottles]

Nose:

Breathtakingly thick mahogany oozing out rich cocoa and dark tannins.  Dates and figs caramelising in simmering syrup, a creamy and bright Sherry body still rather lively for its age.  The wood is majestic and elegantly elongated, coconut flakes and cinnamon with the leather bringing on an earthier tone.

Palate & Finish:

Stupendously juicy and acidic with the dates carrying the tannins.  Surprisingly though there exists perhaps a suggestion of smoke along with the earthy notes.  The wood is well seasoned in brown sugar syrup, mellow and elongated, releasing notes of burnt toast brushed with syrupy black cherries and very dark chocolate.

Wood and leather as the European oak tannins continue to ooze out.  The cereal chewiness is joined by some preserved orange slices at the very end to lift the tail.

Thoughts:

Bravo, I was concerned that as a 57 year old this would be far too polite but in fact this is rather dramatic with a finish that just keeps on giving.

It’s hard to definitively draw a line on whether a dram this old would be considered to be over-oaked, I think most people would find themselves having to make this personal judgement call.  On this occasion I have to trust my instinct, I was satisfied.

I suspect many will consider that Mr. Richard Urquhart now holds the slight bragging rights over his twin..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 (Cask No. 512)

[40.8%・57 Years Old・Distilled in 1961・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Cask No. 512・Single Cask Release of 97 Bottles]

Nose:

The oak feels ancient and substantial, carrying the umami note with pride but somehow also carrying those ripe white fruits and extracting acidity from them.  The Sherry is expressive and stately, unmistakably G&M with coconut cream and soft peaches at its juiciest.  As the mahogany peels away the malt surfaces, mellow sweetness countered by what years of ageing in wood has given the dram.

Palate & Finish:

A syrupy and acidic spike with the plums followed by the plateaued but matured tones of barley sugar and oak gently chiming along.  Cocoa and leather insert themselves to the stupendously woody body.

Dry and tannic on the backend, the tail stretches incredibly long to uncompromisingly reveal the marks left by those glorious and historic oak staves that housed the malt and somehow a very faint reminiscent of can peaches has persevered through all those decades..

Thoughts:

Oh wow, if the wood makes the whisky then this dram unequivocally had taken all that the wood had to give.  Whiskies like these two casks selected by Mr. Stuart Urquhart and Mr. Richard Urquhart are almost in a league of their own. Whether it’s a dram for someone ultimately comes down to personal preference but the whisky justifiably demands the audience to hold a certain understanding and appreciation.  And in this case, I think the appreciation is rightfully earned.

Whilst debating whether this is for me however, I noticed that this is a recently bottled whisky that displays some OBE traits and now here’s what I believe..  the form of the vessel doesn’t matter just as long as the whisky spends enough time in it to develop OBE..

A whisky that inspired a theory, what more could you ask for?

☆ [Recommended]

Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Adelphi Selection Longmorn 21 year old (Exclusively bottled for the Oak Barrel Whisky Fair 2013)

Style: Sweet and Spicy

Nose:
Beautiful aroma of stewed fruits on the nose. Powerful peppermint, followed by fragrant core of peaches, orchard fruits and light citrus oranges, very dense and sweet. Massive sprinkle of cinnamon dust and icing sugar. Blackcurrants, black tea on the deeper end, spices hitting a few high notes. Rounded off with white almonds and brown sugar. Very lovely.

Palate:
More smooth stewed fruits rolling onto the palate, the sweetness of the red fruits and the spirit reaches a great balance. Superbly silky and fragrant as blackcurrants meet milk chocolate. Black lemon tea. Sharp peppermint pierces through with more cinnamon dusting over. Malty, corn syrup at the tail.

Finish:
Subtle icing sugar and red fruits cake, milk chocolate lingers.

Thoughts:
Spices might have a tight grip on this one (it seems like a trait of cask strength Longmorn), but you got to love the dazzling array of fruits on display when it opens up when you let it sit for 20 minutes. The flourishing sweetness is immensely rewarding. Great balance between the sherry and the spirit. Suddenly I realized this is the very first Adelphi I have bought back then… Beautiful whisky, and I have polished this off.

☆ [Recommended]

[52.1% • 2013 Bottled • 1992 Distilled • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Non Chill Filtered  • Non Coloured • Cask Strength • Cask Number: 48436 • 1 of 102 Bottles • Matured in Ex-Sherry Hogshead]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: SMWS 7.197 Longmorn “Mature way beyond its years” 35th Anniversary Bottling

Style: Young, Spicy and Sherry

Nose:

Sharp, herbal spearhead thrusts through on the nose. Muscovado sugar taking a hint of rice vinegar, within the heat there’s pickled cucumber, more peppermint, lavender flowers and even some rice crackers. Hot, dark sherry sweet with slight drier notes on the side.

Palate:

A more refined entrance than what the aroma suggested. Coffee jelly transmuted into brown sugar, spices slide in. Calm dark fruits, then we have a small dash of black pepper landing onto fresh popcorns. Purple flowers blossoming and gaining ground overtime. Vanilla cream floating onto the top, while spent coffee sinking down to the bottom.

Finish:

Expresso finish, red currants and black liquorice with a small dose of caramel injection. Popcorn notes surfaces again, pretty good.

Thoughts:

A youthful, sherried Longmorn we have here. Yes, it is matured beyond its years, it feels the cask has helped in a meaningful way. Massive sherry influence, with red fruits signatures stamped all over. Still young and rough around the edges, but this malt has gone up to an unexpected alley, interesting dram no doubt.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[59.8% • Independent Bottling • Aged 8 Years • 2008 Distilled • 2017 Bottled • Single Cask • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Matured in First Fill Ex-Sherry Butt • 1 of 606 Bottles • t]

-Esmond

Tasted at Archie Rose Distillery, Sydney.

Whisky Review: Silver Seal “Whisky is Nature” Series Longmorn 1984 30 Years Old

Style: Light and Fruity

Nose:

Incredibly soft, winey aroma on the nose. Lovely, subtle peaches with a light mineral flick, sweetness radiating so softly. Simmering peppermint spice gives a fizz just like an apple cider. Digging deeper there are more acidic tone awaits. Is this really a sherry cask? Peculiar, but a nice nose.

Palate:

Peach tart dusted with icing sugar on the rim of spearmint. Delicate, exceptionally clean and resounding stone fruits and garden berries tailing with wood shavings sprinkled with white pepper. Creamy vanilla, the malt is utterly cleansed, polished and reverted back to barley form for an instance. Milk chocolate seeps out from the oak, while a deep, rather dry mineral touch lies beneath.

Finish:

More purified malt remains, whispers from peaches and oak, a tantalizing finish.

Thoughts:

This is an eye-opener dram for me. Whiskies these days doesn’t taste like… this. It is not very complex and a bit passive at times, but it unfolds so slowly that you are lured towards it. Before you realise you have already fallen for its spell-binding charm; the delivery is exceptionally clean and aromatic. It takes a lot of time, but totally worth it when you see through to the end – Longmorn in one of its finest form.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[56.3% • 2015 • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 75 of 420 Bottles • Limited Edition • Cask Number: 3212 • Matured in ex-Sherry Cask • **-]

-Esmond