Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Longmorn perfection through Italian eyes


Welcome to the first “Something Special Saturday” of Whisky Odyssey! 

Let us kick off with some ancient liquid history, one of the bottles in the Antica Casa Marchesi Spinola series. On the menu today my personal highlight from the six that were included. Can you name the other five without googling? Congratulations, you are a whiskynerd too!

The Longmorn comes from a great vintage for this distillery, namely 1971. Now, one could easily claim that the early seventies were very good for building the reputation of some giants that are still around today. Clynelish comes to mind, and their counterpart Brora obviously. Who has not drooled over a GlenDronach 1972? 

But do not overlook any Longmorn from these days either. Often great fruity spirit, and in combination with sherry wood (and paxarette) you feel like entering whisky paradise. Isn’t that what an odyssey is all about?


The Antica Casa Marchesi Spinola collection was bottled in 1990. Together with a Miltonduff 1966 this Longmorn was the only one bottled at cask strength. All others were bottled at 40 % abv. Can you imagine doing that to a Port Ellen 1974? Well, the malt whisky market was quite different then, more than 30 years ago. The bottles all sported a nostalgic Scottish tartan. Also something to cringe about, but better than made-up stories about beasts and such, yes?

Longmorn 1971, Antica Casa Marchesi Spinola, bottled in 1990 by Sestante at 58,1 % abv

Makeup: Sherrywood, and lots of it.

General impressions: Now there is a classic sherry whisky smell if there ever was one. To me, these kind of sherrymonsters are forever the benchmark for judging whisky from comparable backgrounds. But, once must admit, sherry casks like these are as rare as water on the moon. Old leather seats in classic cars, shoe polish, a basket full of overripe cherry, and tealeaves. With water it is almost as if this Longmorn starts fuming. An industrial smokiness rises from the glass, hints of oil and car engine. This is indeed an old-timer, an old Jaguar!  After a while, the water seems to have released more red fruits, still leaning mostly on cherries, covered in chocolate.

The taste is strong on wood and spices, really leaning towards dark chocolate. Cigar leaves make an entrance but there is also room for some fruitiness. Delicate however. Actually, the fruity taste comes and goes during the time you play with this Longmorn. The next sip is really back to the darkness of a good shot of espresso, one that you buy where the locals buy it, in a backwards alley somewhere in Bologna. No wonder this is an Italian series.

Conclusion: From memory I tell you that me and some whisky friends used to drool over Longmorn 1971 bottled by Scott’s Selection. Matured for little under a decade longer that this Spinola. Fierce whisky, one of those precious times you come close to the holy 95-points mark. This Spinola is up there with the best. It does not need water, but it does swim like an Olympic champion, and it does reveal more depths. That is what this Longmorn 1971 has in spades: depth, complexity. Truly one of my all-time favourite whisky!

Score: 93 points

Disclaimer: sample acquired through membership of a Blind Tasting Bottle Club.