...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Longmorn 27 year old 1985 First Editions

Longmorn single malt from the 1960s and 1970s may be some of the loveliest whisky ever made. But I've found 1980s Longmorn to be a little more, say, normal. I don't know why it changed. Their stills didn't switch over to steam firing until 1994. Could they have changed their barley or yeast? Or does it have something to do with Seagrams taking over in 1978?

In any case, 1980s Longmorn usually costs only a fraction of the price of the '60s and '70s stuff. Plus it can actually be found at retailers from time to time. I've reviewed two Longmorns from the Reagan (or Mondale) Decade, here and here. And now I'm going to review two more, a pair of 1985s I tried side-by-side this weekend.

The first Longmorn is from a bottle split I did with Chemistry of the Cocktail. Jordan reviewed the whisky last week. Let's see how this one fares...

Distillery: Longmorn
Ownership at time of distillation: Seagrams
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: First Editions
Age: 27 year old (1985-2013)
Maturation: ex-bourbon cask
Bottle: 57 of 216
Alcohol by Volume: 52.5%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The color is a light yellow gold. Perhaps a refill cask? The nose is very grain forward. Plenty of malt. Apples, mint leaf, dry cheese, lemons. A whiff of chlorine. Smells a little dusty sometimes. A hint of wood smoke. Butterscotch. The palate is hot and filled with tart, acidic citrus. Salt, malt and caramel. Not terribly expressive. It finishes hot and peppery, with tart citrus.

Will water help it out?

DILUTED TO ~46%abv
Yes. A little bit of tropical fruit slips into the nose. Richer oak notes. Ocean air, a slight phenolic thing. Vanilla, herbs, malt. The palate is calmer, fuller. The citrus reads brighter, less acidic. Sweet lime things. Roasted salted nuts. A hint of milk chocolate. The finish is actually longer at this strength. Limes, salt, nuts and caramel.

Dare I......

DILUTED TO ~40%abv
The nose changes quite a bit. Dunnage and fermenting fruits. Fresh green grapes and green apples. Almond extract. The palate grows sweeter. Citrus and malt, with a soft bitterness. Simple but balanced. The finish shortens up. Mostly sweet and tart citrus, with a hint of malt.

I struggled with the first few ounces of this whisky in the weeks before this review. The heat, acid and tartness were a bit rough on the mouth. After completing this tasting, I fully agree with Jordan; dilution opens this Longmorn right up. The palate and finish were best at the 46%abv level, though I really enjoyed the nose at 40%. So if this bottle has been open on your shelf for a long time due to a lack of enthusiasm, then pour a glass and add some water, a little at a time, until you find the right spot for your palate. It won't make you swoon, but it'll transform into an above average Speysider.

Availability - A few US retailers still have a bottle or two
Pricing - Usually north of $250, though Jordan found it for half that price because magic
Rating - 85 (but water is a MUST)