There’s so many Longmorn 1992 on the market these days. It would be useless to review them all, differences are very small. Here’s one by Malts of Scotland, which released another one last year.
Longmorn 21 yo 1992
(54,2%, Malts of Scotland 2013, bourbon hogshead, MoS 13014, 224 btl.)
Nose: starts with a vigor that’s half spirity, half herbal (anise and ginger). Softens a bit on apples, greengages and light orange. Unripe banana. Fresh oak shavings. Seemingly less vanilla than there was in other versions. Mouth: again some fruity notes but the spicy and grassy notes are louder. Sweet citrus as well as more zesty notes. Plenty of liquorice. Quite some mineral notes too. Finish: medium long, with lingering wood and citrus.
Fresh oak, some fruits, plenty of spices… Modern whisky, good but not exactly exceptional. I prefer the previous Longmorn 1992 by the same bottler, which is still available by the way. The new one is around € 95.
An oldie to honour The Whisky Fair this weekend. This is one of the pear-shaped bottles used by Springbank in the 1960s and 1970s (not only for the 21 year old).
There are different versions with subtle differences. Notice how this label has a shiny silver background and the capsule is black. The label can also have a white background and the capsule can be gold. On top of this, there’s a version with “100% pure malt” on the label, instead of “single malt”. And there are two possible strengths, 43% and 46%.
Springbank 21 yo (43%, OB 1970s, pear shape bottle, silver label)
Nose: influenced by OBE, which is not uncommon after forty years in glass of course. Dusty and slightly metallic. But still nice, with heather honey, apples and light caramel. Hints of wax and pine forest. Mouth: sweet and rather subtle. Sweet barley, a little baked pear. Some vegetal notes and herbs. Faint mineral notes. Funny notes of cashew nuts, but gone before you know it. Finish: medium long, slightly dry and herbal but still with a caramel undertone.
Nice old-style Springer, not very complex, nor very punchy, but nice anyhow. Remember bottles with OBE, no matter how nice it can be, are difficult to score. Around € 300-400 in auctions. Thanks Carsten.
Highland Park recently launched a 10 years old expression, available in Holland. It’s an entry whisky in many respects: younger, with a low ABV, even the bottle is sized down, containing only 35 cl.
While I usually don’t like 40% strength, I tend to applaud the smaller bottle as it allows you to have a quicker turnover in your collection and try more whiskies for a similar budget.
Highland Park 10 yo
(40%, OB 2013, 35 cl.)
Nose: both surprisingly fruity and surprisingly peaty. An expressive combo certainly at this strength. Typical aromas of heather and light sea breeze. Oranges, apples and nice peaches. A little wax. Mouth: a bit soft but quite bright. The coastal notes stand out first, then followed by apple / pear / almond. Soft bitter herbs, faint ginger and zesty grapefruit. A little salt as well. Finish: again really soft, weak even. Oily with traces of almond sweetness and leafy notes.
Probably meant as a beginner’s dram and it’s very good at that, introducing the typical flavours in a slightly softer way. Better than expected, I must say. Around € 20 (remember it’s only a half bottle).
Chester Whisky & Liqueur Company is a small whisky shop in Chester near Liverpool. While I was told they are doing their own bottlings for quite some time, I had never heard of them until recently several people in Holland, Germany and Belgium announced they had become a distributor of their whiskies.
In Belgium Chester Whisky is distributed by Dominiek Bouckaert who is known for The Whiskyman and Thosop bottlings. Already available in most of the shops that are carrying the other ranges.
Nose: quite a mineral start. Wet gravel, paraffin… Also walnuts and faint yeasty notes. Even a few medicinal hints after a while. Underneath is a layer of (unripe) fruity notes, apple peelings and soft vanilla. The fruits come to the front with a drop of water. Mouth: sweet barley and quite some candied fruits. Lemon drops. Moving towards subtle tropical notes, with creamy coconut and bags of vanilla. A soft spiciness of wood and a soft herbal bitterness in the background. Finish: rather long, sweet and spicy. Still some herbal notes.
An all-rounder: from a mineral and slightly harsh nose to a very sweet and slightly tropical palate. A release that’s certainly on par with similar releases from other bottlers. Around € 90.
Launched two weeks ago, Kilchoman Loch Gorm will be a regular part of the core range and the only fully sherry matured expression. It will be periodically replaced by a new batch. This first batch was matured in oloroso sherry butts for over 5 years and finished in oloroso hogsheads for six weeks.
Kilchoman ‘Loch Gorm’ 2007 (46%, OB 2013, first release, 10.000 btl.)
Nose: fresh inner bicycle tube. Even though it’s still the main component, the peat seems less assertive than it was in previous releases. Quite some antiseptic / anaesthetic and mint. A vague sweetness (lacquered meat) as well as spicy notes (pepper, clove). Mouth: the peat starts sweet but grows drier and eathier. Wood smoke and spices again (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon). Chocolate and raisins in the background. Tobacco leaves. Finish: long, smoky and sweet.
This one has a balance of peat and sweetness that I haven’t seen before. I seem to like Kilchoman better at a slightly lower strength and with some sherry character. Around € 65.
Let’s be grateful for the fact that Malts of Scotland forgot to finish its new Auchentoshan 1991 in a Château Montrose wine cask… (read this). This time it’s plain bourbon oak doing the magic.
Auchentoshan 21 yo 1991
(52,3%, Malts of Scotland 2013, bourbon barrel, MoS 13016, 165 btl.)
Nose: quite aromatic, with lots of whitecurrant and orange juice. Also strawberries and kiwis. Lychees. Nicely candied. Also a faint Ben Nevis-like waxiness (lipstick). Honeysuckle. Grass. Rose petals? A little vanilla and fresh oak shavings as well. Overall really attractive. Mouth: sweet and fruity, with a style that’s reminiscent of some Irish whiskies. Oranges, pineapple gums. Soft vanilla and spices. Some floral notes as well (very lightly soapy) but nothing disturbing. Hints of cinnamon bark. Finish: not too long, but nicely fruity with light oak spices.
An unusual dram, but nicely fruity. Probably the best Auchentoshan I’ve had in recent years. Certainly worth a look. Around € 100.
Imperial is officially a lost distillery since early 2013 but a new plant is built, which will get a new name.
This Imperial 1995 is part of the 10th Anniversary bottlings by Whisky-Doris. Congratulations on the jubilee and keep up the good work! Four bottlings have been released already and two more will follow if my information is correct.
Nose: malty and minty at first. More fruits after a while, apple, peach and melon. Hints of hay. The mint makes place for garden herbs and a few mineral / flinty notes. Fresh, clean, quite nice. Mouth: a lovely ripe apricot flavour, very creamy and fruity. A good dash of honey. Also tangerines. Slightly liqueur-like in its fruitiness. Hints of almond cream. Grows clearly spicy in the end, with pepper and ginger. Finish: long, with some fresh, grassy oak and hints of citrus zest.
A pleasant Imperial that impressed me most on the palate. A deep fruitiness alongside the oak spices. Around € 75.
Nose: half malty, half fruity in a nice balance. Ripe orchard fruits (apple, peach). Some toffee and vanilla cream. A little honey. Then back to sugared breakfast cereals. Hints of hay and linseed oil as well. Mouth: sweet and vibrant, first showing fruity notes (plums and tinned peach) with creamy notes and vanilla. Toffee apples. Juicy barley and Frosties again. Almonds. Then moving to cake, light chocolate and spices, mainly pepper and cinnamon. Finish: long, sugary and creamy, with spices in the background.
Dailuaine is the core element in the Johnnie Walker blend. That’s because it produces this kind of all-round no-nonsense whisky. A solid festival dram. Around € 55. In case you’re not visiting the festival, also available from Whiskysite.nl (and currently you get a 10% discount with the code WS2013).