At the risk of being accused of lapsing into decadence, here is another ancient Longmorn from Scott’s Selection. This one is the 1968-2004 release which, like the 1968-2003, is at a very high abv compared to the two 1967’s released around the same time (both of those were in the low 50%s; see here for the 1967-2004). This is the only one I have not previously tried of the five Scott’s Longmorn-Glenlivet bottlings released in the mid-2000s and so I am really looking forward to it. It’s also the only one I never actually saw in the wild myself so I can’t kick myself for not picking up a bottle.
I have another sample of a different ancient Longmorn from this period on my shelf (that one’s from Gordon & Macphail) and once I’m done with that one I’m probably done with getting to taste ancient Longmorns. Prices are now through the roof. An end of an era? Hopefully, Longmorns from later decades will be as good with as long aging but they will not, I am pretty sure, be as (relatively) affordable as these whiskies once were. Oh well.
Longmorn-Glenlivet 1968-2004 (61.4%; Scott’s Selection; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Roasted malt at first but unsurprisingly, given the strength, it seems a little restrained. With some airing though the familiar notes of honey, polished wood and orange peel begin to emerge. Still quite tight. It’s probably going to need a lot more time and water to begin to sing. The wood turns a little dusty and there’s some red fruit (cherry? strawberry?). With more time there’s some cream but nothing else really. Okay another small sip or two and then it’s time for water. With water there’s a lot of wood glue, some toffee and a lot of lemon peel (almost candied). Some peach jam too in the back. More vanilla too.
Palate: Hot! Malty-sweet at first with some lime poking through but not a whole lot else fruit-wise. Less immediate wood too compared to the 1967-2004. With more time though the wood begins to show up earlier and it’s more astringent than in any of its siblings from the era. More fruit too now (some apricot, and the citrus turns sweeter) but the wood is the top note. Water brings the wood under control and now the fruit is more expansive: lemon, marmalade, peach, a hint of mango. The wood’s not fully gone though, but now it’s more peppery than astringent.
Finish: Long. The sweet malt notes turn to more bitter, roasted malt. The lime hangs around as well, getting a bit salted. Some bitter oak at the end as well. Not the best balance here. As on the palate, water improves things dramatically, pushing the wood back and letting the citrus do the talking. With more time the wood comes back but it’s not as strong as before.
Comments: Very far from a bad whisky but not quite in the league of the 1967-2004, the 1968-2003 or the 1971-2004. There’s a lot of the great stuff in here that there is in its siblings but the balance seems a bit out of whack, and the wood too strong. Water did improve things a lot, I thought, and it may be that with a different ratio of water to whisky this could become even better. As I only have the one 2 oz sample my ability to experiment with different ratios is very limited.
Now, if anyone has a sample of the 1967-2003 (52.2%) that they’d be willing to share/swap, please drop me a line. I’ve tasted it before on a couple of occasions but that was before the blog and I’d love the chance to review all five of these releases (I have an unopened bottle of the 1971-2004). I”m sure I have something I could interest you in in return.
Rating: 88 points.
Thanks to Gimmeadram for the sample!