Another Malt Nuts meeting has come and gone and this time our subject was Longmorn. This venerable Speyside distillery has been around for over a hundred years and while it may not be much of a household name in America it’s been a favorite of the Scottish blenders pretty much since its inception. Fruity and rich with a bit of earth to it it’s long been a component of blends like Chivas where it remains today as one of their core malts.
Longmorn Distillery History via Malt Madness
- 1894 – Founded by John Duff (ex-Manager at Glendronach, also founded Glenlossie & Benriach)
- 1970 – Discontinued floor maltings
- 1994 – Direct coal firing of the stills ended
Like we do for every Malt Nuts we gathered at a private residence via Ubers, Lyfts and DDs and settled in for an evening of malty fun. Barry had everything wrapped and blinded by the time everyone arrived and with so many well aged Longmorns in the fray the anticipation was palpable.
There’s always a sense of anticipation that reminds me Christmas morning as a kid; the excitement of something new. These new-to-me 12-25 year-old Longmorns were broken down in to the three rounds below.
Malt Nuts Longmorn Tasting rounds
- Cut Longmorn
- Cask Strength Longmorn Round 1
- Cask Strength Longmorn Round 2
Enough jibber-jabber, let’s dig in to the Malt Nuts Longmorn Tasting!
1A: The Ultimate Longmorn 25 years (90-16): 46% – Hogshead
- Nose: Banana, fruit, hay, malty sweetness, spice and some apricot.
- Palate: Banana, fruit, copper, hay, earthy malt, cocoa, spice and wax.
- Finish: Med -> Fruit, copper, earthy malt
- Overall: B (83-86) Standard, nothing special at the moment, but I have a feeling this one could open up in 6 months or so and since it ended up being my bottle we’ll find out.
1B: Berry’s Longmorn 19 years (92-12): 46%
- Nose: Malt, vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, fruit and caramel.
- Palate: Butterscotch, earthy malt, nuts, fruit, caramel, hay, copper and a touch of minerality.
- Finish: Med -> Butterscotch, fruit, bitter copper and minerality.
- Overall: B- (80-82) Starts malty and earthy before fading to bitter minerality and copper. By the end of the night some cocoa notes started to show up but it still faded out bitter.
1C: Wemyss Malts Longmorn 23 years (92-16): 46% – Hogshead
- Nose: Banana pudding, toffee, apples, butterscotch, apricot, raisins and honey.
- Palate: Malt, banana, apricot, toffee, butterscotch pudding, graham, honey, melon and nuts.
- Finish: Long -> Hay, banana, apricot and copper with a bit of chalk.
- Overall: B (83-86) This one nearly moved to a B+ with its rich sweet pudding notes but the longer it stayed open the more the bitter copper and chalk notes arose.
1D: Whyte & Whyte Longmorn 12 years (81-93): 43%
- Nose: Dried fruit (banana and apricot), cocoa, malt, toffee and vanilla.
- Palate: Cocoa, dried fruit, malt, toffee, banan chips and candied nuts.
- Finish: Long -> Cocoa, dried fruit, malt, melon and spice.
- Overall: B- (80-82) A standard speyside profile that becomes a bit hot and alcohol heavy the longer it opened.
Cask Strength Longmorn Round 1
2A: Signatory Longmorn 19 years (96-16): 53% – Hogshead
- Nose: Dark fruit, brown sugar, malt, nuts, raisiny spice and wax.
- Palate: Raisin heavy dark fruit, brown sugar, malt, nuts, wax and spice.
- Finish: Long -> Winey dark fruit, toffee and malt.
- Overall: B (83-86) This is a nice whisky with an odd effervescent quality, but it lacked the oomph, the kick to knock it up to a B+. Still it was quite nice and came across almost crisp with that effervescent / slightly acidic quality.
2B: Signatory Longmorn 25 years (90-15): 55.2% – Hogshead
- Nose: Complex multi-faceted fruit, oil nuts, malt, cinnamon, brown sugar and spice.
- Palate: Complex multi-faceted fruit, nuts, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, dreid banans and spice.
- Finish: Long -> Minerals, fruit, spice and malt.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) This one hit the B+, but just barely. It came across like a deeper more interesting relative of the better whiskies in the first round… which is was.
2C: Signatory Longmorn 21 years (92-14): 54.8% – Hogshead
- Nose: Banana oil, acetone, fruit, granola, dried fruit, stale spice and a minerality that grows with air and water.
- Palate: Musty bordering on sulfury, banana oil, acetone, ink, dried fruit and a painted pencil (imagine chewing on a #2 pencil).
- Finish: Med -> Acetone, banana oil, walnuts and slightly stale dried fruit.
- Overall: C+ (77-79) Odd and funky but not in the way I typically enjoy. After a while a bit of a pine character started appearing and a drop of water brought it out a bit more.
2D: SMWS Longmorn 28 years (85-14): 58.7% – Hogshead & ex-Bourbon
- Nose: Dark fruit and citric acid clash to make a bold sour cherry note, caramel, root beer spice, nutmeg, fruit leather.
- Palate: Same sour cherry note from the nose, complex dark sweets, baking spice, honey and a touch of oak.
- Finish: Long -> Fruit, earthy malt, caramel and a touch of sulfur.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) This one is a solid B+ and I will admit I was surprised it was a SMWS bottle because they’re almost always among my least favorite of the night. In fact, before the reveal I was sure 3B was going to be the SMWS bottle, but that seems to be the way their bottles are for me and my tastes. They’re either not good (mostly) or they’re dynamite and rarely in-between.
Cask Strength Longmorn Round 2
3A: Old Particular Longmorn 21 years (94-16): 51.5% – Hogshead
- Nose: Honey, crisp fruit, toffee, hay, citrus and waxy banana.
- Palate: Super fruity, vanilla, hay, malt, citrus peel, nuts, minerality and citric acid.
- Finish: Long -> Fruit, spice, hay and citric acid.
- Overall: B (83-86) The banana, apricot and apple quality dominates the dram with all the other notes being mere wisps and pops. I thought it would open more over the course of the night, but it stayed steady.
3B: Old Malt Cask Longmorn 21 years (92-14): 50% – Hogshead
- Nose: SULFUR, brown sugar, hay, brittle, bitter citrus peel, baking spice and copper.
- Palate: SULFUR, brown sugar, hay, brittle, minerality, copper and a touch of stale mustiness.
- Finish: Long -> Bitter sulfur, caramel, earthy malt and coppery minerality.
- Overall: C (73-76) The mega dose of sulfur didn’t burn off or fade much with water and time that evening, but it’s possible it will over time, heck in six months the sulfur could take a back seat, turn into a supporting balancing note, and this could transform into a killer whisky. Though at the time of tasting the Sulfur was far too much for me. I enjoy a bit of sulfur in my whisky, but not this much.
3C: A.D Rattray Longmorn 20 years (90-11): 54.8% – ex-Bourbon
- Nose: Butterscotch, maple, fruit, char, sulfur, caramel, brown sugar, toasted malt, spice and nuts.
- Palate: Malt, butterscotch, char, caramel frosting, fruit, cocoa Necco wafers and a bit of minerality and copper.
- Finish: Long -> Bananas Foster, char, malt, copper and wax.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) Complex waves of dark sweets roll through this one and get supported with fruity and earthy notes. I really liked this one and it bordered an A-. My favorite of the night.
3D: Old Masters Longmorn 15 years (92-07): 59.5% – ex-Sherry
- Nose: Waxy red licorice, malt, strawberry Necco, spice, caramel, toasted nuts and a bit of char.
- Palate: Caramel, spice, malt, dark fruit, citrus peel, banana chips, apricots, nuts and ash.
- Finish: Long -> Fruit, dark sweets, spice, banana chips and mint.
- Overall: B+ (87-89) This also bordered on an A- with its rich slightly sherried profile, my second favorite of the night.
And that’s all she wrote for the Malt Nuts Longmorn Tasting. These things are always so much fun and it’s unendingly interesting to dive deep into a single distillery like this. Big thanks to Barry, as always, for organizing. It’s always an amazing experience to hang out with a bunch of good folks and share a dram. If you’re reading this and think to yourself “this sounds like fun” I encourage you to start a club of your own and start exploring ASAP.
Till next time, cheers!