Review: Longmorn, SMWS 7.130

Longmorn, SMWS 7.130 ‘Musky, floral, sweet perfumes’, 25yo

(Distilled 15/6/90, refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 240 bottles, 55.1%)

Poor old Longmorn. Another stalwart old distillery that is now, apparently, a “super-premium brand” … so, you know the drill: prices up, quality down, posh packaging. Whisky for rich people who don’t know much about whisky. In case you think I’m being overly cynical those were the exact words that a representative of another premium brand said to me a while ago. C’est la vie and all that.

So, here’s your choice. The official 23yo Longmorn in a frankly pretty ghastly aftershave type bottle for nearly £500, or an older cask strength release from an independent bottler at less than a quarter the price. Let’s assume you’ve made the obvious choice and try a bit.

Nose: Hmm, yes – ‘musky floral sweet perfumes’ – can’t argue with that! Mind you, the SMWS also describe the colour of this whisky as ‘setting sun on honeyed sandstone’ which is getting a bit fruity if you ask me. Back to the dram. It’s all about a balance of acidity and sweetness, with a bit of a spiced hit. So: orange and apple slices with cinnamon, those blackcurrant and liquorice sweets, a few morello cherries. Some dark chocolate wafer behind the scenes, and even a touch of something like rye bread. That’s the musky bit I guess.
Taste: Big, deep, rich. Peach and Fruits of the Forest jams, balanced with some gingery spice. There’s a bit of rosewater jelly there too, and maybe that Spanish wine jam as well (Have you tried that? Rather good with cheese.) Flambeed apple, with a wafer biscuit (just one, mind you).
Finish: Drinking the juice from a can of peaches while chewing Big Red gum. A chocolate, orange and ginger finish – there’s lots of oak here, but it’s elegant and spiced rather than drying.

An exuberant whisky, this. The big lush fruitiness and the dry musky spiciness don’t come together totally harmoniously, but jostle around for attention. It’s not unbalanced exactly, it just has a lot of boisterous personality.

Hugely enjoyable – I’d go as far as “exciting” maybe – and a perfect antidote to some of the more middle-of-the-road Speyside whiskies. Recommended.

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