"The closest thing to liquified wood that I tasted so far, but oh so tasty this belter of a selection from mister Scott"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Longmorn is particularly found along independent bottlers, while its owners Pernod-Ricard mainly use it for their blends. Pernod-Ricard got the distillery in their portfolio by acquiring Chivas Brothers, who in turn bought it from The Glenlivet Distilleries in 1977. The distillery has received upgrades in 2012 (washbacks and mashtuns), 1994 (wash stills and steam heating) and in particular a extension from four to six (1972) and later to eight (1974) stills. So the whisky that we will be tasting today is still from the old set-up, not that I have a clue if that would really make a difference. Anyway, turning the the bottler of this beauty from 1971, Scott’s Selection. Not a bottler that you find that often. It is selected by Robert Scott, former master distiller at The Speyside Distillery, of casks that he collected during his career. They use filtration (but not chill-filtration) and release only at cask strength. Actually, I do not know if new bottlings are still released. A last note before the tasting, a sample of this came to me via a lottery that was organised to support cancer research, great thanks to Tom putting that together!
Initially the attack is strong and reasonably alcoholic. There is cherry wood, old wood, in fact a complete antique shop, and some varnish. Reminds me also of quite old armagnac. It appear quite austere, without much fruits or freshness. Although, if I try very hard, I can find very faintly some cherries in the background, and dried peaches. This might need some time and water. Indeed with water it softened into a more complex variety of woods, spices and dusty dried fruits. There is a lost strawberry and some dried cherries. Water also increase the balance, and once given some time in the glass, it becomes better and better. More fruits with cherries, apricots on alcohol, the thickest and most intense of blackberry sauces, and forgotten fruity sweets that you sometimes find the pocket of an old jacket. Rum raisins, along with overbaked cakes and frostings. Then meats, like smoked ham, barbecued ribs, and baked liver (and I don’t even like liver). The smoky side pops quite surprisingly, with even suggestions of tobacco and bonfires. For the rest, a beautiful interplay between sherry and wood. The sweet, the spicy and slightly sour. Perhaps a new film?
Again very strong with lots of tannins, which we might have expected based on the colour. Lots and lots of extracted wood, maybe the closest I have gotten to liquified wood. Many wood-associated spices like nutmeg and cardamon, and again a smoky side that is even stronger on the palate. Tobacco, hints of cigar ashes, distant bonfires smoke inhaled on an earlier morning on the heath. Curious what water does with this. Yes, even better. This really opens up with many different spices, different peppers, paprika powder, koriander, curry powder, curcuma, dried fruits like raisins, figs, plums, peaches, maybe even pineapples. What follows is a long dry aftertaste with fresh blueberries, cake crust, caraway, fresh mint, and cardamon. Dusty. Well, it is quite old…
Sometimes it is not only about taste, but also about the experience. A personification of liquified wood turned into a beautiful dram with a wide array of old woods, varnish and dusty dried fruits. Maybe not that appetising to the reader, but very well so for the taster. Belter of a cask that was selected by Robert Scott. Obviously, this is very difficult to find anywhere, so I was lucky to win it at the lottery. Moreover, we will have more old stuff in a month or so. Can’t wait.
Big thanks to for providing the sample for charity!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •