Like the shades of green covering the rolling landscape of the Laich of Moray, this well-respected but obscure whisky, has delicate, constantly changing properties and subtleties. Since this is whisky in its most natural state - with nothing taken away- you may detect a slight haze when adding water or ice.
NOSE: Heavy at first, alcohol clears after the initial intake. With subsequent inhales, the fog lifts, revealing a unique sweetness, hinting at a nice honey-pear sunrise in my immediate future.
PALATE: The first splash (no water) burns the lips and tongue, fading away last on the back of the palate (5 secs), making a late resurgence (15 secs). The whisky contains strong sherry flavors typical in many other brands. What makes this special is the delicious sweet-malt coating left on the palate. Each drink increases the coating, making each drink thereafter, that much better.
Adding water certainly helps open this drink up, revealing more of a grain and cereal taste. The honey sweetness is diminished in a transformative way, not necessarily bad depending on what you like in whisky and desire in complexity.
FINISH: The more I drink this, the more I dig the way this whisky leaves the palate; sweet and strong, ready for more. I'm a big fan of the stuff (whisky that is) in general, but this malt has a well-above-average finish in my mind. This one has a disappearing ink effect, starting strong, pretending to leave, then resurfacing as robust as ever. Adding water did not alter the finish much at all, however the palate taste does change.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Longmorn 16 yr is not a scotch you will come across often, at least in the US. I have never seen this in a liquor store or on a menu at a restaurant. This variety was highly recommended by an employee at World of Whiskies in Heathrow Airport to a colleague who was traveling internationally. (Who can pass up tax-free scotch??)
Initially, I was impressed by the packaging. The box is held closed by hidden magnets and the bottle itself has a leather ring on the bottom acting as a coaster. Brilliant, right?
I had rolled the dice with this bottle, by bypassing some obvious winners such as the duty-free Balvenie 14 yr Golden Cask, or the deeply discounted Balvenie 21 year Portwood. In the end though, the Longmorn is winning me over. A very nice, sweet flavor and finish I have yet to find in another brand.
My international scotch mule, errr co-worker ;), is making another trip over "the pond" in a few months, can't wait!
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