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Thursday 3 June 2010

Long Way From Home (again)

I love TK Maxx. You’ve got to have time, but every so often you unearth a bargain. I remember still fondly my biggest score: a Belstaff jacket. Retail price, somewhere around £300. TK Maxx price: £75.00. That’s gotta be good. I think it comes from a family heritage of digging around charity shops in the home counties. If you ever get an invite to my flat (seriously, come on over!) then you’ll find that it’s full of bits-and-bobs acquired from Oxfam / Red Cross / Scope / Marie Curie. Be it an Ercol sideboard or a vintage La Crucet, it’s usually a bargain unearthed by someone from Family Harrison in a charity shop in Headington.

I think this trait in my family has been refined in me, not only in respect of looking for value in places like TK Maxx and Oxfam, but also at any bar I might find myself in, anywhere in the world at any time.

The harsh reality is that not everyone loves whisky in the same vociferous way that we (or indeed you, our dear readers) do. This means that every now-and-again you can visit a bar that has been previously well stocked by the owner but has since fallen into disrepair. The whisky that they lovingly selected for their back bar has not been upsold, left to gather dust for eagled eyed reporters such as us! This evening proved one such find.

In a wee bar hidden away in Speyside (yes, we’re back up in the heart of Scotland’s whiskymaking land- more about that tomorrow if we’re not stuck boozing somewhere...) we spotted a whisky that was no longer available but one of which we had heard great reports: the Longmorn 15 Year Old. Replaced by the Longmorn 16 Year Old in 2007, a year older and 3% higher in ABV upped from 45% to 48%, this is an excellent bottling with an even better bottle design (it’s not often we comment on bottle design, but this has its own built in leather coaster. How cool is that?!) it’s now rare to come across its predecessor. A quick text to some friends reveals that it is certainly one to try. So, let’s give it a go:

Longmorn 15 Year Old – OB – Black and gold label – 45% ABV

Nose: Hot buttered cinnamon toast, tiffin cake and rich black tea .

Palate: A sweetness hits first of brown sugar which is immediately broken with fine spices (hints of cardamom). An overall roundness of fresh wholemeal bread. Wonderfully spicy, sweet yet rich palate.

Finish: Medium / Long spice with lots of oak and deep meaty notes. Really interesting.

Overall: This whisky is a real cracker. Sadly it looks like it'll now set you back £75+. Looking back at the bottle, it certainly needed re-vamping (it was in the same era as Danny DeVito and Arnie movie) but has the whisky moved up with the packaging? You’ll have to wait and find out when we get back to The Big Smoke and locate some Longmorn 16 to try....!!