This month see us try the Longmorn 12 year old as bottled by Gordon and MacPhail.
Longmorn Distillery is a Speyside treasure. The name ‘Longmorn’ actually evolved from one of the missionaries named Mo-ernin-og, or Maernanog who brought Christianity to the area surrounding Moray. After he died in 625 A.D., a small church was built in honor of this missionary who had become a saint. The church was named Lann Marnoch or the church of St. Marnoch and years later the name was Anglicised to Longmorn.
John Duff created the Longmorn Distillery Company in 1893. In December of 1894, Longmorn Distillery had started production. Timing was unfortunate since the Pattison Crash occurred in 1898. Pattison, Elder and Co. were the biggest purchasers of whisky at the time. They had incredible buying power and distilleries were willing to extend significant credit to them. All the while, the firm’s financial situation was precarious and they finally went bust leaving many distilleries crippled. A period of recession soon followed in the whisky business and it ruined Duff.
Michael Jackson wrote of Longmorn, it is “one of the greatest speyside malts, cherished by connoisseurs but not widely known. Longmorn is admired for its complexity, its combination of smoothness and fullness of character, and from its big bouquet to its long finish. It is noted for its cereal- grain maltiness, oily flavours, reminiscent of beeswax; and estery fruitiness.
Blenders were impressed by its taste and quality and in 1897, the The National Guardian stated it “jumped into favour with buyers from the earliest day on which it was offered.” Longmorn’s admirable reputation was solid.
The Longmorn 12 year old is a beautiful whisky, with rich sherry oak flavours derived from the first and second fill barrels. Being “barrels” as opposed to hogsheads or butts, I am assuming it is actually american oak that is used to initially age sherry, then used to age this whisky. Speyside whiskies tend to be light and delicate, so sit well with American Oak that adds a little vanilla character, but doesn’t over power the whisky with big heavy wood flavours that we find in Spanish oak casks. The true flavour of the sherry comes through though, giving up delightful christmas pudding. It is a lovely clean malt whisky which is very pure, with a drying finish and length that goes on and on and on.
She is a beaut.