Pernod Ricard announced that it would be releasing a new NAS expression from Longmorn called The Distiller’s Choice, presented at 40% ABV and matured in a range of American oak, ex-Oloroso sherry and traditional oak casks (OK, I’ll admit that I have no idea what that means, and if it means that American oak and sherry casks are no longer to be regarded traditional. Really, no idea….). My longtime readers know that while being an outspoken opponent of NAS whisky, but it’s not because I think NAS can’t be good whisky (I can name quite a few examples of excellent NAS whisky, and have said so in reviews), but because I think the consumer has the right to know what they’re buying. Nevertheless, this is 2015 and a 40% NAS priced at £47, when you can get a bottle of Bunnahabhain 12 (46.3% ABV, non chill filtered and non colored) at the same UK retailer for £38, just blows my mind and infuriates me. That, in essence, is all that’s wrong with the whisky industry today.
My own humble response to this infuriating release will be to review a real Longmorn, one treated with respect and bottled the way whisky should be bottled. I’m referring, of course to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s distillery number 7, and this particular one is a 27 year old bottled at 56.7% ABV, straight out of the cask. It’s a strange one, but utterly fascinating….
SMWS 7.86 – Longmorn 27 Year Old – Sucking Lemons Before A Brass Band – Refill Hogshead (56.7% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Amber, quick legs with a lot of residue.
Nose: Dried fruit, orange blossom, strawberries and cream and notes of toasted marshmallow. Water introduces some fruit, namely green apples.
Palate: Perfume-y in mouth, I’m debating whether this is Jasmine or lavender – settling on the latter, with indian spices leaning toward a Masala chai note. The palate is strange and intriguing. Water kills the palate, don’t add any!
Linger: Remenisciant of the boutique soaps you get in the markets, lavender and pepper, with the spice remaining on the tongue.
Fascinating dram, with notes you don’t come across very often, yet it lacks a certain gravitas you’d expect from a 27 year old.