A particularly interesting Longmorn – 15 years in an ex-bourbon barrel and then a finishing period in a 1st fill IPA barrel.
Nose: An unusual composition, but certainly IPA influenced. Fermenting washback – malts and yeast with dry citra hoppiness. A surprisingly array of ‘green’ notes here – nettles (quite strongly), hemp, bracken, fern, gooseberries and lime margaritas. In the background, bitter maltiness and dusty vanilla. Dilution moves things more towards the ex-bourbon precursor cask with meringue, whipped double cream and split vanilla pods.
Taste: Opening on dry-hopped rich chocolate (now there’s a ‘thing’), this develops grassiness with lemon verbena, menthol, camphor and mint leaves. Tingle white pepper and oven-baked pastries arrive in support. The addition of water takes things off in a floral direction – still hoppy and beer-like, but with geraniums and grapefruit added alongside allspice and pepperiness.
Finish: Short to medium – all on citrus (both lemon and lime).
There’s only a handful of IPA cask whiskies that I’ve felt have truly worked (See Chichibu IPA cask) – to my palate, most feel underpowered and lacking in any discernible IPA character. That is far from the case with this Longmorn – the IPA influence is palpable and showy. Whether or not its characteristics sit well with Longmorn’s spirit character is another matter. Honestly, I’m not wholly convinced. But, if you want a beer influenced whisky that really does what it says on the tin, this is certainly an effective oddity.