In 2013’ish van Wees bottled a number of sherry casks of Longmorn 1996. We didn’t know it then but that was right at the end of the era of reasonable prices for teenaged whiskies. Even with the higher Euro/USD exchange rate of the time these casks went for about $65. That’s for 17 year old sherry cask whisky. Can you imagine such a thing now? Anyway, these casks were very popular—all have very high scores on Whiskybase—but because the whisky world had not gone crazy yet they didn’t all sell out immediately. I purchased a bottle from cask 72315 and my friends Rob and Clara purchased a bottle from cask 72324. They opened theirs right away. I got a sample from their bottle and promptly forgot all about it and my own bottle. Here now more than five years after we purchased our bottles, and in a far less innocent time, is my review of the sample from their bottle. If I like it a lot, as I am expecting to do, I will open my own bottle next month.
Longmorn 17, 1996 (57.4%; van Wees; sherry cask 72324; from a sample from friends)
Nose: A big sherry bomb nose: red fruit (cherry, plum, raisins), cola concentrate, leather, beef stock, dried mushrooms (soaking liquid), and then some oak. A bit all over the place but it works. More oak extract as it sits. With water there’s more of the red fruit and some dried orange peel to go with it.
Palate: A bit sour and flabby here to start and more oak. Very approachable at full strength. The red fruit and oak come together better on the second sip but the whole is less interesting than the nose. Not much new with time; let’s see what water does. Water ties it together better and brightens it up with more citrus coming through here as well along with more of the sweeter fruit and polished oak.
Finish: Long. Nothing very new here. As on the palate and nose with water.
Comments: Neat, the nose is the best part. On the palate it’s sort of a generic sherry bomb—not unlike some of Glendronach’s “single casks”. Pleasurable enough but nothing very special. Water gives it better structure, gets rid of the flabbiness. Curious to see what cask 72315 will be like.
Rating: 86 points.
Thanks to Clara and Rob for the sample!