I think the Whisky Exchange’s annual Whisky Show is coming up soon. I say annual but they obviously skipped it last year (this year’s show is in person again, I think). Anyway, I didn’t mean this review of a Longmorn 18 released 10 years ago at the 2011 edition of the Whisky Show to come close to coinciding with it—I’ve actually had this bottle open for some months now but have just not gotten around to reviewing it. Now that it has dipped below the half-full line it is time.
Speaking of the Whisky Exchange, you may have come across the recent news that they have been purchased by Pernod Ricard. Given how much difficulty I’ve had with keeping track of all of the Whisky Exchange properties, affiliates and spin-off concerns over the years, I don’t actually know what this means for the various whisky releases their various bottling concerns put out. Will this mean greater access to malts from the group’s distilleries? Less attention to malts from competitors? (Longmorn, of course, is part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio.) The most important question is whether the new corporate masters will approve of Billy Abbott’s beard. Only time will tell.
Longmorn 18, Whisky Show 2011 (57.8%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Lemon peel and toasted oak. On the second sniff the citrus is muskier (makrut lime) and there’s a bit of pineapple and plum as well. Cereal notes emerge as it sits. With a lot more air and then water it gets much softer with vanilla and pie crust emerging now along with more musky citrus. Sweeter too with a bigger hit of plum and some plum sauce.
Palate: Quite a bit of fruit here: lemon, green apples, gooseberries. Quite a bit of oak too and a nice bite at full strength. As it sits there’s a bit of aniseed and the fruit gets slightly muskier. With more air and time the oak backs off and the lemon expands: fresh lemon juice and candied lemon peel all together. Let’s see what water does. It brings some of the toasted oak back but also brings out sweeter fruit as on the nose (plum here too and a bit of peach).
Finish: Long. The oak is the top note here. Develops as on the palate with the oak receding and the lemon expanding. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Well, I have really enjoyed this bottle which is now past the halfway mark—especially once it had been open a while and the oak receded some. I’m a little mystified though to not have got any of the tropical fruit that some have reported at any stage of the bottle’s life so far. Who knows, maybe it’ll show up at the very end of the bottle? I’ll report if it does. Anyway, this is very elegant bourbon cask whisky, especially once air/water get the oak under control.
Rating: 88 points.