This is the only official Longmorn available in the US, and may well be the only official Longmorn widely available anywhere (I guess I could look it up). The packaging of this somewhat overpriced expression (close to $100 in most US markets) has a couple of odd features: some sort of faux canvas cushion on the bottom of the bottle (which is actually not a bad idea, as I am surely not alone in accidentally thumping the occasional bottle down on a shelf or countertop, but in practice it looks cheesy); and a box with an odd “gull wing” opening which has caused many people heart attacks in stores as it swivels opens unexpectedly when you hold the box as you normally would. This kind of thing is what the brain-trust at Chivas Bros. seems to be spending its time on instead of giving us more expressions of one of the most elegant yet most unsung malts in all of Scotland. Still, we must give them credit for bottling it at 48%.
Longmorn 16 (48%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Apple cider; crisp, tart apples, apple peels. Somewhat acidic but fresh. Some mild, sweaty, musky notes of malt develop, but the overall impression is quite consistently that of apples/apple juice–maybe some pears too. After a while a mild buttery note develops–pastry crust. A little more sweetness too with time. With a lot more time, the fruit begins to get a touch tropical, or at least less “bright” and a little more fermented; some lemon too. A little swirl of water brightens the nose up again and also makes that musky note more expressive (having trouble picking what it is).
Palate: A little hot at first, and a little hard to pick apart. Definitely more malty, biscuity notes on the palate. Ah yes, there’s the fruit: not so much apple on the palate, more the light tropical/fermented notes that developed on the nose (but not very much of them). Also some spicy, woody accents which come to the fore with time. Water doesn’t do anything interesting for the palate.
Finish: Quite dull; not much development: mostly the wood spice hanging on.
Comments: The action here is mostly on the nose. It’s not terribly interesting on the palate and the finish is blah. A solid whisky but not one that will send your pulse racing (at least not racing as fast as when you pick the box off a store shelf and it swivels open). Very similar on the nose to the Whisky Galore 16 yo I reviewed a while ago, but less pleasurable on the whole. And, as I noted then, this is almost twice the price I paid for that one. While this one has the virtue of being replaceable I will not in fact be replacing it. I think I might drink what remains of this bottle with ice and sparkling water–it might be well-suited for that on the deck on a warm evening.
Rating: 84 points