The View from the Golden Promise is a chance to see the bottles under the hammer at finespirits.auction in a new light. To give you this fresh perspective, we’ve called on two experts from the Golden Promise Whisky Bar.
Longmorn 1964 Gordon & Macphail Cask No. 1538 - bottled 2007 LMDW
This heavily sherried and venerable Longmorn is marked by a very tertiary register with notes of cigar, sandalwood, cecina and old leather. A little intimidating at first, over time it reveals delicious notes of red fruits (strawberry, wild strawberry) and citrus fruits (orange, kumquat). Coffee, dark chocolate, a handful of dried fruits (Corinthian raisin) and nuts (walnut, almond) are also present, as well as a hint of menthol, the trademark of an excellent sherry cask, whose only fault is an occasionally over-bold wood - hardly surprising after decades spent in the barrel.
Longmorn 1972 Gordon & Macphail Cask No. 1088 - bottled 2006
In comparison, this slightly younger single cask - for Gordon & MacPhail at least - reveals incredible richness, with notes of mendiant chocolate (apricot, raisin), brandied cherries, candied citrus fruit peel (orange, lemon), candied ginger and latte. Still, however, there is a certain verticality and little by little the sherry regains control with a finish more focused on liquorice, clove, almond and bitter almond. A savoury feeling remains throughout the tasting, which is also occasionally guilty of excessive bitterness and astringency. Don’t let that put you off, however, as the charm of old whiskies like this is well worth the small inconveniences of their age.
Nikka 1998 Of. Coffey Malt Cask No. 103356 - bottled 2013 Nikka Single Cask
It was in 1963 that Masataka Taketsuru brought the first Coffey still (for continuous distillation) from Scotland to Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. It was later moved to the Miyagikyo distillery in 1999. This bottling, exclusive to La Maison du Whisky, is from before the general launch of the 45% version a year later that made the style more accessible to enthusiasts all over the world.
Right from the start, this whisky is extremely rich and seductive. The nose is full and lively, rummaging through a pastry chef’s workshop, with crème brûlée, raisin bread, brioche, candied orange and rum-like aspects. The palate is rich and creamy, revealing coffee (no relation to the term “Coffey”, which comes from the name of the Irish inventor who perfected the still) in all its forms, from coffee éclairs, to mocha coffee and Kahlua liqueur. Spicy (candied ginger), there are also hints of crème chiboust, that make this a true liquid dessert. A light and pleasant bitterness brings something of a herbal feel. The finish is long, ending on ginger and - of course - more coffee.
You have been warned!