Longmorn is setting out its stall as a standalone, premium single malt Scotch whisky with a new series of single-batch releases, starting with an 18 Year Old and a 22 Year Old.
The Speyside distillery has been dubbed a whisky maker’s whisky due to its rich and creamy texture, which offers a natural toffee sweetness right off the stills. But those desirable characteristics mean the bulk of its distillate is reserved for the Chivas Brothers’ blending operation, so it has seldom been seen as a single malt.
While the distillery has offered a 15 Year Old and a 16 Year Old in the past, many of Longmorn’s best whiskies have come from independent bottlers, in particular from Gordon & MacPhail, who describe it as one of the industry’s “best kept secrets.”
From today, that secret is out. The 18 Year Old and the 22 Year Old mark the start of new annual releases direct from the distillery. They will be produced in single batches in limited quantities and bottled at cask strength, non-chill filtered and 100% natural color.
Kevin Balmforth, Chivas Brothers cask expert said: “The 18 Year Old and 22 Year Old, like all Longmorn single malt, feature the creamy toffee profile which is quintessentially Longmorn. They espouse this whisky’s spirit of endurance and are intended to be savored, representing Longmorn’s dedication to quality.”
Balmforth joined Longmorn’s team in 1999, so has managed this whisky from the day it came off the stills. He used a mixture of first and second-fill bourbon casks as well as a small selection of hogshead casks to amplify that trademark flavor profile.
Matured primarily in American oak ex-bourbon casks, both expressions accentuate Longmorn’s distinct distillery character. The 18 Year Old offers fresh fruit on the nose and palate with sweet red apples to dominant note. The 22 Year Old dials the creamy toffee up, giving a rich sweetness of banana fritters or banoffee pie.
The new whiskies have launched alongside a rebrand of the Longmorn logo. The new label features golden arches and a steam train logo, which pays homage to the distillery’s heritage. The distillery had its own railway, which helped to transport the whisky around the globe.
Longmorn 18 Year Old tasting notes
Nose: Red apples, toffee and dried apricots
Palate: Floral at first. Fresh apple skins and toffee before moving onto a tropical hit of pineapples and coconut
Finish: Milk chocolate with a hint of praline nuttiness
Longmore 22 Year Old tasting notes
Nose: Wonderfully sweet with rich praline and caramel notes. Pears in syrup.
Palate: Butterscotch hits immediately followed by delicate banana notes. Banoffee pie comes to mind.
Finish: Hints of spice towards the end before the milk chocolate returns
Longmorn 18 Year Old available from $279.99; Longmorn 22 Year Old from $439.99; longmorn.com