My last review of a Longmorn saw me give out my highest score yet. That was for the staggeringly good 1969-2011 bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for van Wees in the Netherlands. Later this month I will have a review of another bottle from that series (thr 1972-2011) and I may also get around to a 31, 1978 bottled for the Whisky Exchange a couple of years ago. And so I am in the decadent position of feeling like this 26 yo from 1987 bottled by Cadenhead’s is not that old and not that special. Excuse me while I slap myself.
Okay, I’m back. This is from the recent(ish) release of cask strength dumpy bottles by Cadenhead’s, a part of their general makeover. I’ve reviewed a large number of the bottles that came to the US in late 2013 and liked all of those—some a lot. That’s one reason I’m hopeful that this will also be very good (this one was released in Europe). The other reason is that if it turns out to be the case that old Longmorn from any era can exhibit the qualities of the 60s and 70s distillate then we can all mourn a little bit less the passing of bottles from those decades.
Longmorn 26, 1987 (49.5%; Cadenhead’s; bourbon hogsheads; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Fresh with tart apple and then an acidic, almost chalky sharpness that settles down to lime and lime zest. Muskier, slightly perfumed notes emerge with time along with vanilla and a bit of honey. Gets a little creamier as it sits and the citrus gets more pronounced—some gooseberry and kiwi in there too now. Blanker with water.
Palate: Very much as first advertised by the nose with the acidic, chalky sharpness. Not as much fruit here at first, and a lot more salt. Not as much fruit at second or third either—really, it’s hard to get much beneath the chalky, almost astringent acid. Can water fix this? Well, it tones down the chalk but I can’t say it replaces it with anything else worth getting excited about—the acid is now more clearly lime but that’s about it, I think.
Finish: Long. Nothing good develops; if anything, it gets a little soapy (that note goes away with water).
Comments: Belies its age—this is not a bad thing per se but probably not a virtue at the price.This is, in fact, closer to the OB 16 than any indie I’ve had. I have to say I’m a little disappointed. The quality of the Cadenhead’s bottles I’d reviewed at the start of 2014 led me to expect this would be much better than it is. This is largely one-note and it’s not the most prepossessing note. It’s not a flawed whisky per se but it’s not my thing. I’m very glad indeed that I purchased samples rather than a full bottle as I was initially tempted to do. That said, it would appear that mine is a minority opinion—it may be that something went wrong with my sample but I can only review what’s in the glass.
Rating: 80 points.