This particularly bottle seems quite fire-like...the initial impact is quite diesel-like, very spirity, and strong. Once your tastebuds recover from this, the more refined Longmorn that I'm used to seems to emerge.
I have always relied on Longmorn being a beautifully rounded and polished malt, but this particular bottle is just too explosive when it first hits the palate.
Has anyone else experienced this recently? It has been about two years since I last had a bottle.
What I have noticed is how impressionable some of the more subtle malts - like wine - are to the state of our taste-buds and our noses - and how other things: food, other drinks, weather, a head-cold or flu, atmospheric conditions, even proximity to perfume or cologne and even how recently I brushed my teeth, for example, can be an influence. But that's me . I wouldn't give up on it yet, but might suggest re-examining the circumstances of this experience and see if it repeats over several tastings, say several times a day - for several days. (And take notes!!!)
Failing that - send your fiery bottle my way and I'll do my best to analyze it for you. I promise to return the empty!!!
However, I have taken this into account over the last month. I opened the bottle in November, and during the last month I've sampled the contents at various times, occasions, meals, etc, etc. I consistently got the same reaction, and this is what led me to pose the question on the forum. Interestingly, I shared a dram with a friend who has a discerning palate, and he too agreed - the first sensation was hot & firey, but then it settled to a more polished dram.
The only thing I haven't done yet is tried it in a series with other malts. I have done this in the past and found Longmorn always stands out above its predecessors. (Last run I did was - in order - Aberlour 10yo, Glenlivet 12yo, Strathisla 12yo, then the Longmorn. The Longmorn was then followed by Macallan 18yo, Glenfarclas 21). I suppose this would be a more accurate test, because I recall the Longmorn fondly IN COMPARISON to other malts, so I suppose I really should compare it with a few others.
'Just to dig a tad deeper - is the Longmorn 15 you're referring to a 45% alc/vol version - or the earlier 43%?
I had also read a comment in Jim Murray's "Complete Book of Whisky" that mentioned the 1993 change at Longmorn - from coal-fired to steam coil heated stills - but this should not have impacted current stocks...
I like your method of analysis
If it wasn't such a long flight from Vancouver to Australia I'd volunteer to assist with your next test.(Last run I did was - in order - Aberlour 10yo, Glenlivet 12yo, Strathisla 12yo, then the Longmorn. The Longmorn was then followed by Macallan 18yo, Glenfarclas 21).
I would suggest that in the name of science perhaps your next test should involve several bottles of Longmorn, side-by-side, to check for consistency (or lack thereof). It may simply be a case of your Longmorn having been "bruised" in transport - or a fluke bottle. However, if not, raise the alarm!!!
In answer to your question, this bottling is the 45% version.
I don't think the higher alcohol is the issue, because I regularly drink Ardbeg, Talisker, Bruichladdich, and others which are all bottled at roughly 46%, plus I also indulge in the odd cask-strength, so my palate is no stranger to the stronger stuff.
I'm in the process of moving house at the moment, and many of my bottles are still en route or packed. When the opportunity arises, I'll taste the Longmorn in series with a few other speysiders and see how it fares.
Thanks to all
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