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Friday, December 5, 2014

Single Malt Report: Longmorn-Glenlivet 13 year old 1974 Cadenhead

First off, I'd like to thank Cobo for supplying me with this whisky.  Older versions of Longmorn are amongst my favorite things.  Whatever the Longmorn folks used to do at the distillery worked very well.  I don't know if the change happened when they switched to steam firing in 1994 or further back when Seagrams took over and management changed in 1978.  Clearly, I need to drink more Longmorn in order to explore this further.

So here's how this one worked out.  Cobo drank the first half of the mini and then he sent me the second half.  There was about six months of oxidation sitting between the two tastings.  That time allowed for quite a bit of change as there were some differences in our experiences.  More about that after my notes...

Distillery: Longmorn
Ownership now: Pernod Ricard
Ownership then: The Glenlivet Distillers
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Age: 13 years (1974 - 1988)
Maturation: "Sherry Wood"
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Alcohol by Volume: 46%

The color is light gold.  The nose first gives off a slight dusty metallic whiff.  It's not as strong of an Old Bottle Effect as other dusties I've had, but again this one had some air before my tasting.  After the OBE vanishes quickly there's a rush of tropical fruit (think mangos and pineapple) and strawberry Bubble Yum.  Underneath that is an earthy note, a little manure and hot hay.  Smaller notes of jasmine flowers and toffee linger, as does something pine-ish from the wood.  Whole lotta malt in the palate, though the sweetness stays reined in.  Plenty of oranges (peel and oil).  Peeps of Campari-like bitterness, Tobermory-esque porridge, and farm-y......farminess.  It's very lightly sherried and there are hints of the nose's tropical fruit.  Both of those elements linger through the finish, intertwined with the malt note and citrus oil, the whole package growing more candied with time.  There might be some cough syrup and mocha hiding in there too.

While this didn't buckle my knees like the ol' Scott Selection Longmorns (a pair of which were recently reviewed by My Annoying Opinions), I still really liked this Cadenhead bottling.  The fruit, earth, malt, and bitters just clicked for me.  And that might have had something to do with the six months of oxidation.  Cobo sampled this mini when it was first opened and found it to be tight, hot, woody, and sour.  I found those same difficult characteristics in the old North Port-Brechin Cadenhead mini I'd tried last year.  Do these little green bottles need some serious oxygen to open up?

If you do have the luck of finding bottles of '60s to early '70s Longmorn nowadays, they will cost money.  Those single malts age very well, thus the 30+ year olds are gorgeous and graceful and bold and lively and adjectives.  This 13 year old ain't quite there, but it's still very very good with some air.

(For more opinions on this whisky see the whiskybase listing and Johannes's review at the bottom of his Longmorn page.)

Availability - Auctions?
Pricing - Unknown
Rating - 89