Here is another of the excellent old Longmorns released by Scott’s Selection in the early-mid 2000s. I’ve previously reviewed the great 1968-2003 and now here is one distilled a year earlier and bottled a year later. Until a couple of years ago these bottles could be found relatively easily at reasonable prices, but now they seem to be mostly gone, and what’s left seems to have largely had its price hiked. So it goes.
I opened this bottle for the gathering for my friend Rich’s birthday in September, the one that yielded the samples of the Clynelish Manager’s Dram and the Talisker 30s (plus some others yet to be reviewed). And it was as good as I remember it being from the one previous occasion that I’d got to taste it.
But enough futile talk: I’d like to taste it again.
Longmorn-Glenlivet 1967-2004 (53%; Scott’s Selection; from my own bottle)
Nose: Polished wood and a gigantic basket of assorted fruit: there’s waxy lemon peel, orange rind, ripe apricots, overripe bananas, a touch of mango and a bit of pineapple in syrup. Some roasted malt below all the fruit and expanding honey as well. The wood gets a little bit dusty as it sits and the apricot moves to the top of the fruit basket. With even more time there are some lovely floral notes as well (unfortunately, I don’t really know my flowers). A touch of white pepper too now. With a lot more time the mango comes up top with the apricot and there’s toffee and shortbread too now. With water the nose brightens up a fair bit at with more acidic fruit—lemon first and then makrut lime peel—but then transitions to hints of berries and cream.
Palate: Starts out with the citrus (lemon) and then the whole damned fruit basket explodes on my tongue, turning muskier as it goes and picking up a bit of salt. Lovely, rich mouthfeel—almost velvety. On the second sip the wood is a little more apparent; more pepper too. The wood gets more assertive with every sip but it’s very far from being astringent or in any way offensive—mostly it provides a nice frame for the fruit. Okay, time to add some water. As on the nose, sweeter fruit emerges. And the wood gets pushed back. Here’s the strawberries and cream now. After more time the lemon starts coming back again.
Finish: Long. Fruit, fruit, fruit—the tropical notes come to the front, with mango presiding. More of the white pepper here too. Even longer with water and sweeter, as on the palate. The wood emerges late along with some milk chocolate.
Comments: Just a glorious nose with all the fruit and the nice interplay with the wood. It’s a similar story on the palate but a tad less complex. But at this level there’s not much point picking nits. Lovely stuff, and I wish I’d bought a second bottle when I easily could have. I think I preferred it without water—it got just a little too sweet on the palate.
Rating: 91 points.
I wish I had purchased at least ONE bottle of this when it was available. I kept intending to do so, but it just never happened for some reason. Curse my indecision!
If we’d only known then what we know now about what was going to happen with the price, availability and quality of old whisky….
It is rather strange to think that, unless the bubble bursts and there is another serious glut, folks like myself will most likely not have the opportunity to taste similarly aged whisky in the future. Of course, the whisky being distilled today is certainly much different than the whisky distilled in the 60’s/70’s for any number of reasons (barley mono-culture, shortened fermentation times, wider distillation cuts, etc), but that doesn’t make me any less bummed that I probably won’t be able to ever again purchase a 36 year old whisky for ~$200 (which was really pushing my budget anyway).
Hi, guys. Regarding the crazy increases in prices… First, I think it’s as much that prices are too high now as it is that really, prices were too low for the quality we could purchase even a few years ago. So it’s not just that we are getting hosed now but also we had unbelievably good deals in the past and now are probably catching up to what’s fair. Next, I think it is amazing that when Toyota’s projections for number of cars needed is measured in weeks, and computer companies’ projections for number of chips, computers, &c is projected in hours, scotch whisky demand is projected for 30 YEARS!!! How can a company logically or accurately predict demand for anything in 30 years? Global warming projections for 1 year are all wrong, so how can the company decide how much to put away now for demand in 2044? Skynet probably will have taken over by then and there will be no demand by our robot masters. Maybe 30 year aged oil? My understanding is this error in projecting demand is what closed Port Ellen, Brora, and the other distilleries in the 1980’s. Finally, I suspect a lot of the expensive purchases are made by Chinese magnates and Russian oligarchs. Realistically I think it will be 20 years before supply catches up with demand so hopefully we have all bunkered enough or are bunkering enough. However part of me wonders how much of this is people who are buying as much as they can with the intention of flipping and there will be a flood of good old stuff as they realize their profits cannot be realized. As neat as that would be … At least in the States there is no longer any good market for flipping (since Ebay stopped allowing liquor sales) and I think the people who do the best flipping are the owners of the auction sites, not the owners of the bottles. Consequently I think this latter occurrence is not to be and I think we are in for 20 years of expensive scotch while we wait for supply to increase. Then in 10-20 years as the demand wanes there will be a flood of good old stuff as Diageo is now realizing their projections for the future may be less rosy than they thought. My two cents. Keith
Crazy it may be, but I just bought 3 bottles of this, the 52.2% version, this week. It’s out there if you look far and hard.
At long-ago prices?
Fair price. $275
Yeah, I don’t know that I could pay that having paid so much less back in the day. But it’s not a rational position as these days whisky of that quality costs even more.
I grabbed 3 of the 21 year 1985 Macallan casker at the same price. With friends we are about 2/3 thru the first of them.