the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Sunday, March 23, 2008

NKOTB In the House

If you're of the right vintage to have caught my Right Said Fred and Europe references, you'll not need that headline clarified. If you're confused, don't waste the mental effort. Suffice it to say that my plan to make poorly veiled references to decent music I actually listen to has failed miserably.

The NK in this instance is a bottle of Longmorn. I've never tried it before, but I heard a few things about it that made me curious:

  • it has had a reputation of being hard to find
  • it has a reputation of being very good
  • it's cheap.
So I picked up a bottle a week and a half ago so as to broaden my tiny collection. I'd thought of grabbing a Cragganmore, but I realize that two of my bottles are presently "Classic Malts of Scotland," as is Cragganmore, so I figured I'd try something from a different producer. After all, what is life without a little bit of wild abandon now and again?

Unfortunately, my initial impression of the Longmorn was surprisingly underwhelming. I found it a bit on the dull side: no individual flavours stood out. It was just sort of plain. Generic. I was a bit dismayed by this, but it was cheap, so I wasn't heartbroken.

What I hadn't factored in was that I was getting sick, so my nose and tastebuds were way out of whack. Now that I'm healthy, it's a much nicer dram.

So how does the Whisky Works compare? It's got a more complex nose. The faint smokiness is stronger when compared against Longmorn. It's noticeably spicier and sweeter, like brown sugar and cooked fruit. The Longmorn is more medicinal and grainy. It's a fainter-smelling spirit as well.

The Longmorn is much more herbal on the palate. Its sweetness is like grass or straw rather than fruit. It makes the smoke in the Whisky Works really stand out. Really stand out. It's a nice comparison, actually. The Longmorn has a tad more alcohol than Oban or Talisker, so it's got a more comparable amount of heat to it. When the heat is factored out, the Whisky Works is a butterier, smokier dram, and the Longmorn grassier and maltier. The Longmorn is a bit smoother, but another week in the cask might take the last of the edge off the Whisky Works.

This time around I prefer the Whisky Works to its competitor. Longmorn is nice, but I still find it so well balanced with no stand-out flavours that it's a bit too subtle. But I'm more of a Lagavulin or Talisker guy, which pack more of a flavour punch than a lot of whiskies. Longmorn's nice, but a bit more oomph would be nicer. The Whisky Works holds its own and then some this time around.

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