Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SMWS-Japan 20th Anniversary Bottling (3): 7.84 (1985 Longmorn)

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Today, the Japan branch of the SMWS is officially launching the 3rd exclusive bottling to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The label features a fragment of no. 94 from Hiroshige’s ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’, showing the autumn maple trees at Mama. Apparently, Mama was a place of such extraordinary scenic beauty at the time that many people made the 15-kilometer trek from Edo (present-day Tokyo) just to admire the maple leaves in autumn. Let’s see if this Longmorn can take us to similarly enchanting realms of experience.

The nose is intriguing: baked pears, cashew nuts, gooseberries, a Honey Stinger energy bar, caramel sauce, iced peach tea, printing paper, wax polish, a bit of sage… and so much more – a kaleidoscope of tiny aromas. Only a refill cask that has been left to do its subtle communication work with the spirit over decades can make something like this happen. With water, you get a bit more fruit – brambles and boysenberries, to be precise. Nosing this, you feel like you’re sitting 24 inches off the ground, but then you take a sip and you’re out of this world. The impact on the palate is just incredible: oranges, apple peel, agave syrup, wood spices, lemon tart, honey candy, tamarind chocolates (the kind they make at Puccini Bomboni’s in Amsterdam), coconut macarons and a bit of mint… but everything so beautifully integrated. This is whisky to chew on and I mean that literally. Even though it’s quite light on the nose, it’s so rich and thick on the palate. But hold on, it’s not over yet… On the finish, you get a lovely surprise: lavender shortbread with honey lemon tea and raspberry sorbet. Forget about the maple trees at Mama – this is the trip you want to make: 7.84 – Longmorn 1985/2013, 27yo, 56.3%abv, 173 bottles. Tickets to paradise go on sale at 12:00 noon today.

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