Longmorn is one of those distilleries on which the owners – in this case Pernod Ricard – have consciously decided to inflict punishment with official bottlings at the limit of tolerance. Probably some executive was beaten with a bottle of Longmorn as a child and now wants revenge. But quite apart from the unlikely OBs of recent years, the quality of the spirit of this Speyside distillery that sits peacefully south of Elgin is indisputable. Two facts tell us this: 1) since it was founded (1894) it is one of the few that has never stopped production; 2) independent Longmorns are usually excellent. Let’s immediately test this second part of our syllogism with a single cask of Claxton’s, a 10 year old bourbon barrel which, according to its colour (a very pale white wine) must not have been very active.
N: immediately ethereal, with a sugary note reminiscent of lemongrass. Lemongrass, too. Yeast, naked cereal and candied fruit to underline the younger and less “tamed” side of the whisky. If the colour suggested it to us, the nose confirms it: the cask here has not had any particular impact. It remains fresh and herbaceous even after a few minutes in the glass, but with a curious dusty quid coming through. We ask ourselves, astonished, “Leone absinthe tablets?”. And don’t ask any more.
P: the gradation does not particularly shock. Of course, the sensation is still of a young, almost unripe product, but not without interesting sides (and edges). It starts with a childhood suggestion, a Proustian Madeleine from the 80s: Haribo liquorice string! In fact it is sweet and oily, but also almost dirty: a patina of grease on a grandmother’s copper pan. That’s how it is today. Lost in the suggestions of childhood, we do not forget to report the presence of pear and cedar peel. A sprinkling of white pepper on the finish. Grandma’s pepper? No, just regular pepper, let’s not exaggerate…
F: a little rough. The young, yeasty side re-emerges with all its roughness. Spicy and not very graceful.
For a young Longmorn, in an evidently refill cask that hasn’t added much to the distillate, it’s certainly interesting: the image of a spirit with character, oily and intense comes through. Not exactly a hedonistic experience devoted to pure pleasure, it lacks a bit of creaminess and pleasantness. But man does not live by silky, refined whisky alone, sometimes he also has to sit down and learn – and this is certainly a didactic malt. Minimal: 82/100. Available for sale in Italy here at whiskyitaly.
Recommended soundtrack: Ida Maria – I like you so much better when you’re naked