This is the third oldest of the five ancient Longmorns bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2011 for van Wees in the Netherlands. I have previously reviewed the 1972 (outstanding) and the 1969 (which I gave the highest score I’ve yet handed out). While I purchased full bottles of the 1969 and 1972, the 1964, 1966 and this 1968 I only have 6 ounces each of, having split them with three fellow Minnesota whisky geeks (the 1972 was also originally part of this split—I purchased a bottle after tasting it). The prices of the remaining stock all but doubled shortly after this purchase and so this is all I have and all I will ever have; and as it’s highly unlikely that 1960s/early 1970s whisky of this quality will be available again any time soon for the prices we paid this is almost certainly the first and last time that I will get to taste such a stellar lineup of whiskies. Each pour is thus very special. For this reason I have avoided getting into my shares of the three that I do not have full bottles of in the wings, waiting for special occasions.
Well, I suppose Bob Dylan’s 74th birthday is as good a time as any.
In December I reviewed an ancient Longmorn bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for van Wees in the Netherlands. I gave that one, a 42 yo distilled in 1969, 95 points, my highest score yet. That one was from a series of single first fill sherry casks which also included one from 1964, one from 1966, one from 1968 and one from 1972—all bottled together in 2011.
Somehow these bottles have stuck around for almost four years. How this came to be I don’t quite understand, but as of now word seems to be fully out on them and the few stores that still have bottles have raised the prices dramatically. This increase has apparently come down from van Wees, who seem to be belatedly trying to make money on a series they had trouble selling out at the initial lower prices (that or they held some stock back in the hopes that they’d eventually be able to charge a lot more). Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
This is the the oldest Longmorn I’ve yet tasted. I referred to it in my review of the 1968-2004 from Scott’s Selection as probably the last Longmorn of this age and era that I will get to taste. This one is from Gordon & Macphail and was bottled for van Wees in the Netherlands. I couldn’t spring for a full bottle but also couldn’t resist paying for two 20 ml samples when the good people of Whiskybase made them available. As the samples were not themselves cheap I hope this one will live up to the standards of the other ancient Longmorns I’ve had.
I think this one might be different though from the others of its age/era that I’ve tasted in that it’s from a first fill sherry butt. I don’t believe the G&M 40, 1971 (the previous oldest Longmorn I’ve had) was from first fill sherry, and I don’t believe any of the Scott’s bottles are either (Scott’s Selection, of course, very rarely specified the type of cask their releases were from). Continue reading →
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.
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.
Old Longmorn (especially from the late 1960s and early 1970s) is usually utterly brilliant stuff—see here and here, for example—but I’ve not had quite as much luck with more recent/younger Longmorn, whether official or independent—see here and here (and here for an exception). As to whether this is just the luck of the draw or whether Longmorn’s spirit reaches its peak at a much later age, or if there was something crucially different about that earlier period, I don’t know. I do know that this 11 yo from the German bottler Alambic Classique does not lift the average of recent/young Longmorns.
I bought it a while ago and opened it a couple of months ago for one of our local group’s tastings—and while no one hated it, it didn’t really ring anyone’s bells either. For that reason, mostly, I’ve been putting off returning to review it despite having listed it in my “Coming Soon…” forecasts for quite some time now. But here I am now. Continue reading →