Hmm, I think there were some casks with moldy bung cloths in this one. Zombie ballerinas with brown skirts taking the angels' share for themselves as drafts blow through cracks where warehouse wall meets tin roof. The curious scent kinda reminds me of a Springbank 12 CS a while back with some bad bungs (according to Ralfy).
I'm also getting the same mushroomy scents and flavors in this glass, as I did in the older Springbank, and I did agree with Ralfy according to my tasting notes. I am a huge mushroom picking fanatic. Lots of different mushrooms in the wilds near where I live. But I don't care for this sort of mushroom taste in the Longrow 14. Reminds me of a Slippery Pete, and those are poisonous, although not much so. I've eaten one and just got terrible cramps and vomiting. I thought it was a porcini.
That was twenty years ago. I once accidentally tasted a death angel (just the slime that was in my bag and got onto other mushrooms). Anyway, I caught my error and spit out the death angel slime. I had no cramps from that, only a terrible headache and some hallucinations (green sky, blue grass, along with a cairn-like pile of medicine-ball-sized boulders with something trapped beneath that seemed to "breathe" and displace boulders up and down as though in time with a pair of enormous lungs) although the relatively minor hallucinations only lasted for less than five minutes). I may be one of the few people alive who inadvertently "tripped" on death angel mushrooms and lived to tell the tale. I am not a connoisseur of hallucingenics at all, by the way. No thanks. Not me.
Speaking of which, I'm not overly keen on this Longrow, even though Serge of Whiskyfun.com loved it. I used to disagree with many of Serge's opinions when he was still reviewing whiskies. The man is likable enough, although one man's poison is another man's brew.
For instance, I disagree with some of his marks on the Lagavulin 12 year olds. I like a few of those which he marked lower and care less for others which he marked higher. He has a soft spot for mescal-banana notes from young spirit that I really don't care for. He used to love the young Longrows and I just don't think they are much to write home about. IMO, Longrows don't have what it takes until they are at least a decade old. Not so with Bruichladdich's for example. They can be good when well under a decade in age.
Anyway, this bottle of 14 year old Longrow isn't young tasting at all. In fact, some of the casks might have been over 14 years of age. I just think that more than one of them spoiled the batch. If any of these "over ripe" moldy bung cloth casks had been bottled as single casks then I think it's safe to say that virtually nobody would have liked them . . . aside from those rare individuals who cultivate a taste for dirt eating (geophagia). Not me, and I like my meat cooked.
This said, an occasional wiped-off but unwashed vegetable picked from one's own pesticide-free garden is supposed to be healthy to eat for one's gut flora. Ah, to each their own. I will take my "wimpy" probiotic pill per day and be happy. Goodness knows that the factory that makes those pills looks (and smells) like. Maybe it's located in a cave somewhere.
Yes, this bottle is indeed "complex." I didn't bother to copy my tasting notes because it's fairly hard to find these days aside from auctions. If somebody mails me out of curiosity, then I can tack on my tasting notes.
My score of 86 might seem middle of the road to many folks. Sorry, but I can't in all good conscience go any lower because this bottle's "curio factor" is at least an 86. Okay, bear with me, because now it's time to peer down the rabbit hole. If you wanna get your lips and tongue round some "strange," then look no farther than Ye Olde Springbank 14.
More than a couple of folks on earth seek out the bizarre and get a kick out of the experience. For those intrepid souls, this self-same bottle is worth the risk, regardless of price. And if you come across it in a whisky bar, and money is no option, then live large. "Suck the toad's back," as they say in Arkansas, USA.
Am I insinuating that the buzz of this scotch is unusual? Aye, in fact I am. Insofar as such things go for whisky. Subtle, but noticeable for those paying attention. The shadow of a difference, but there all the same.