With new whisky releases being churned out weekly, it’s increasingly difficult to keep track of where and when they go on sale, even harder to afford them, and yet the trouble doesn’t stop there. Should you have your ear to the ground and disposable income burning a hole in your pockets, then your next difficulty is actually managing to buy the new release, many of which are limited in numbers. Then there are the countless whisky sites unable to handle the traffic that surges to their pages once a new release goes on sale, with many buyers enduring the disappointment of having a bottle in their basket only for it to disappear at checkout or for the payment page to fail repeatedly, usually resulting in time wasted and whisky missed.
One thing I’ve taken away from not being able to afford so many new and desired whiskies is to pick my battles. It’s also an excuse that I feed myself about never having become a SMWS member – if buying new releases that go on general sale can be so difficult, then paying a subscription to suffer the same palpitations seems utterly perverse and masochistic.
Getting hold of the bottles I really want involves patience and sometimes months of waiting whilst at the same time letting other ones pass me by. Most importantly for sourcing these whiskies, I am lucky to be friends with the owner of a whisky shop who, despite my woeful patter at school and stupid questions about distilleries, continues to entertain my custom (and take my money). He also regularly “loses his phone” which I am utterly convinced is merely a get-out from answering my WhatsApp messages. However, this mutual understanding means that on the rare occasion I can afford a new release and there are some available (even rarer), I can sometimes go to him and he is kind enough to keep me one. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to rely on this method of procurement.
This luck and goodwill manifested itself with the Longrow 2007 Sauternes Single Cask 12 Year Old. It was mentioned to me back in June and I have patiently waited 3 months for it. Distilled in 2007 and left to mature for 12 years in a first fill sauternes hogshead, this was then bottled at 56.9% ABV with an outrun of only 264 bottles and I picked it up for around £75.00.
There’s a rich copper hue to the whisky, and it was rested in a Glencairn for 5 to 10 minutes before Christine spilled it across the carpet and I had to pour another.
“Who puts whisky on the carpet!?”
You, Christine. You do. I keep it in the glass.
The second-time-lucky dram was also allowed to rest for 10 minutes but this time on the table. Lessons were learned.
Nose: Sweet peat and BBQ, with stewed pears alongside buttery fudge and honey. A brininess floats about, and there’s a faint tropical note every now and again too, quite fragrant and pleasing, akin to subtle mango and papaya.
Palate: Even though it’s heavily peated, I find it quite restrained and controlled – it’s present but it isn’t dominant. There’s a sweetness from the sauternes that is unmistakeable and well-balanced with the peat. Slightly oily on the mouth, with a crème brulee sensation of the singed sugary crust and the creamy custard beneath. More stewed
Finish: A soft glowing warmth like allspice, medium in length and finishes with a faint sweetness at the back of the mouth.
My conclusions of this are brief and succinct: I need to try and buy more cask matured Longrow, and I can never antagonise my friend. My only advice is to befriend your local whisky shop owner.