Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Each day this week I’ll be posting my thoughts on some interesting drams from independent bottler, Single Cask Nation. Though originally established in the US, SCN has set its sights on world domination with batches of single-cask spirits now set aside for release to markets outwith their US homeland. There are no complaints from me, especially when they’re uncovering 23-year-old casks of Longmorn.
Longmorn Distillery comes under Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers stable. The distillery stands a short distance from Elgin in the famous Speyside region. A supplier of spirit for several blended Scotch brands, official bottlings of the malt aren’t always easy to come across but thankfully, some casks are picked up by those beloved indie bottlers. That’s what Single Cask Nation have got a hold of here. A single cask, aged for 23 long years in a second fill bourbon barrel before being bottled at 51.8%. There are around 260 bottles available.
Single Cask Nation Longmorn 1999 23-year-old Single Malt
*Full disclosure: the whisky featured in this article was sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Malty and grassy. Straw. Hay bales. Vanilla. Creme Brulee. Buttercream. Almost reminiscent of a single grain nose. New oak and sawdust. Green apples and pears. Lemon curd. Oatcakes.
Taste: Vanilla and dry oak with some peppery spice. Buttered toast. Honeyed breakfast cereals. Some lemony citrus notes after a splash of water was added.
Thoughts: Age has made this quite a delicate whisky but there’s no lack of flavour. Light on the palate with a malt, honey and vanilla character. Sometimes, I find lighter drams don’t really hit the spot for me but this one has developed the sort of interesting complexity that only comes with maturity. It’s also possible that the weather helped my enjoyment somewhat, as well. At the time of writing, Glasgow was enjoying a rare blue sky that lasted several days. In the Spring sunshine, this light, honeyed dram made total sense whereas our usual dank, grey and cold climate likely at least partially explains our penchant for powerful, peaty pours (too much alliteration?). If Islay whiskies are made for the winter, this is an excellent Spring / Summer number.
Price: £199. The price is a sore one but what else would you expect from a pre-millennium single cask? For comparison, a search for similarly aged Longmorns brought up prices between £265 and £500. In that context, the Single Cask Nation bottling starts to look fairly reasonable.
For more on Single Cask Nation visit https://singlecasknation.com/