Longmorn 16 Years Old  (Official Bottling)

48% ABV, £48 for 70 cl or £5.90 per dram at the Whiski Rooms Edinburgh

Score: 86/100

What they say (from The Whisky Exchange):

A part of the Chivas Brothers empire (now owned by Pernod Ricard), Longmorn has long been a favourite of the cognoscenti, but until recently was a very well-kept secret.  Long classed as a blender’s favourite, Longmorn was little-seen as a single malt in the days of Seagram’s ownership of Chivas, with the then-standard issue 15yo left in the shadow of sister distilleries such as Glenlivet, Aberlour and Glen Grant.  Nowadays, however, things are slightly different.

The distillery was built in 1894-95, but ownership was taken over just four years later by James R. Grant after the founder John Duff bankrupted himself during the construction of the neighbouring Benriach distillery (known contemporaneously as ‘Longmorn II’).  Longmorn-Glenlivet Distillers merged with Glenlivet and Glen Grant in 1970 before the Seagram takeover in 1978.

As soon as the dust had settled on Pernod’s takeover of Chivas Brothers, following the joint acquisition with Diageo of the Seagram empire, insiders were predicting a facelift and increased marketing spend on Longmorn, and in 2007 this came to pass.  The much-admired, simply packaged 15yo has been replaced by a new 16yo in a fancy bottle with a sustained marketing push.  As ever, sadly, this new image came at a price, with the new 16yo being launched at nearly twice the price of the old 15yo.  Independent bottlings of Longmorn are relatively common and frequently outstanding in quality and value (the distillery has a long relationship with independent bottlers Gordon & Macphail of Elgin).  The house style of Longmorn is rich and sherried, frequently with pronounced hints of grapefruit.  The spirit is able to withstand long ageing, producing some outstanding older bottlings.

What we say:

At a recent visit to the Whiski rooms for lunch I tried the Lochside 1991, 13 Year Old – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail) for dessert, Paula however opted for the distillery own bottling (OB) from Longmorn, rapidly becoming her favourite distillery.

Colour:

Amber blush gold

Nose:

Blossom, honeysuckle, cherry blossom, flower bouquets, fruity honey, oranges and tannic suede leather

Taste:

Smooth with an initial cayenne pepper spice, thick and syrupy in the mouth this has fragrant jasmine tea, buttery cookie dough, sugary sweet with a likening to Haribo’s tangfastic or fizzy fish

Finish:

Long, oily with tropical fruits such as lychee and guava

Would we buy it again:

I think this OB has firmly cemented Paula’s love of Longmorn, though this lacks a little of that rose and lemon / Turkish delight there is still a lot of floral fruitiness in this expression that she really enjoyed. For me I do appreciate it even though the flavour profile is way off my taste preferences, Longmorn always seem quite complex but packed full of hugely diverse and interesting flavours that somehow come together as a whole.  A little like shoving a  handful of different sweeties into your mouth and buzzing off the sugar rush and end result… taste the rainbow!