Longmorn (16 year)

Longmorn has long been a sought-after component for blending. Robust and flavorful even without heavy cask treatment, it adds depth and sweetness to a blend. After several changes of hands, Longmorn is now owned by drinks giant Pernod Ricard.

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Exclusive Malts: Longmorn (20 year) 1992 – 2012

Distilled at Longmorn on the 22nd of June 1992, cask 86620 was bottled at 52.8% ABV 20 years later, in 2012, exclusively for K&L Wine Merchants by independent brand The Exclusive Malts. This particular cask was distilled ON MY BIRTHDAY when I was 10 years old!

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Tamdhu (10 year)

It has a burst of orange peel, with the funky “almost off” meaty/nutty notes familiar to GlenDronach fans. … I know times have changed, still I’m never crazy to pay above $50 for a 10 year-old malt. At least this one delivers in the glass.

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Tomintoul (10 year)

his may indeed be “The Gentle Dram”, but even at 10 years of age it leaves a lot to be desired. The usual suspects for a Highland malt aged in middling ex-bourbon casks are present – the typical caramel, yeasty bread, brown sugar, and nuts – but nothing serves to elevate this dram above any other similarly-aged malt.

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Speyburn (10 year)

Speyburn 10, aged in ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at a respectable 43% ABV, is better than the younger NAS Bradan Orach. It costs about $3 to $5 more ($20 at BevMo here in California), and is better suited to sipping than any other $20 whisky I’ve tasted.

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Speyburn Bradan Orach

There aren’t many details about the makeup of Bradan Orach on Speyburn’s website. It’s matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. It’s a vatting of different ages (probably, considering the lack of an age statement), likely most younger than 10 years old. After tasting it, I’d venture a guess that the average age is around 6. And it’s unthinkably cheap for a single-malt at $15.

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The Balvenie (12 year) Signature

Uhh. This costs how much? No wonder it was discontinued. With about a quarter of the character of the 12-year DoubleWood, and about a third of the complexity of the 15-year Single Barrel, this is one lame duck of a whisky.

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Tormore (12 year)

A few more years and a bottle strength of 46% ABV would do wonders for this malt. The nose is straightforward but delectable. The palate is somewhat washed-out, and the finish suffers somewhat from its youth (or lack of heavy wood influence). This isn’t a malt to impress at this age, but it shows promise of complexity in its future.

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The Glenlivet Alpha

Games aside, this is some serious whisky. The aromas are fleeting and mild, but on the palate this malt explodes with the clearest chocolate-and-coffee notes I’ve yet to discover in a whisky.

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The BenRiach (12 year)

The palate is even and crisp, with clear flavors of barley and light oak. It seems to me, however, to be a bit of a blank canvas, and the vinegar on the nose is a bit more sour than I’d like. In fact, the leanness of the malt is such that I’d wonder if it was a lowlander – it bears a lot of resemblance to younger Auchentoshan.

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