The Longmorn Burns Malt 20 year old opens with sherry, maple syrup, and the half-remembered dreams of the smell of the interior of your first Jaguar XKE. There is fleeting cherry, like clouds scudding high overhead contrasted with an elegant—not didactic—jet vapor trail coming screaming across the sky. It’s your favorite teddy bear, found on top of your old bookcase, miraculously free of dust and must; just the distillation of your childhood comfort leavened by Shogun-era miso soup bowls and the bitterness of saying “goodbye, I’m off to middle-school.”
The mouth is…extraordinary. A marzipan kaleidoscope presenting an all lemon yellow viscous view spangled by floating, exploding sunshine rays. (It might sound as if I’m writing a book report on Ken Kesey or Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967, but I’m merely a faithful recorder of the myriad vital sensations playing themselves out on my inner stage.) Eating dandelions plucked from the Elysian fields or Valhalla. If there was a fruit grown in a sub-tropical climate whose pulp was jarred and wicked to produce citronella candles, this would be that non-existent fruit. (And it would be awesome if its rind was smelted into the chassis of a Citroën.) Tender buds at the end of sapling twigs: The early twinges of a climax forest of sequoias destined—sadly—to become hot tubs and decks.
The finish lingers like a lush and lazy Saturday morning with a beloved: It mounts and mounts, lolls and relaxes, stirs and recurs, and comes back again and again. (This might sound like I’m writing a bodice-ripper; but again, my journalistic ethics require me to faithfully report the experience.) [John: Bill, you have no ethics, journalistic or otherwise.] A mite bit hot, a little hint of wood, a lot of Essence of Hibiscus, and the ageless arm of Satchel Paige. This is Harvey Haddix pitching 12 innings of a perfect game and losing in the 13th. History is cruel; crueller than April, and crueller than my empty glass.
The Longmorn Burns Malt 20 Year 1992 TWB exclusive is Eugene O’Neill’s harrowing and incredible A Long Day’s Journey Into Night–This is more of a Longmorn’s journey into stuporific soporific afternoon, or even a Longmorn’s Journey into My Brain. It has led me to believe that this review deserves a Pulitzer, a Tony, the Palme d’Or, and an Oscar™. One may not reasonably request anything more from a whisky than that most happy of delusions.
Our thanks to Alastair and the good people at The Whisky Barrel for the sample!
*–The Whisky Barrel (Longmorn Burns Malt 20 Year 1992 TheWhiskyBarrel.com Exclusive)
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