Mannochmore 18yo (Diageo Special Release 2009)
Chances are you’ve never tasted anything from Mannochmore before. First and foremost because the distillery is fairly unknown. But if you have heard of Mannochmore, it’s probably because one of the most reviled whiskies in history comes from its stills. I am of course talking about Loch Dhu, also known as the Black Whisky, which wasn’t exactly good promotion for Mannochmore.
I only know of Loch Dhu because of its reputation, not because I’ve tasted it. But from what I’ve read about it, I have not missed out. Except for a few fans, Loch Dhu was mostly described as utterly disgusting and sometimes even as the worst whisky ever made. It might’ve driven you to go out of your way not to have to taste anything Mannochmore has ever made. But that would be a mistake.
Because once upon a time, in a land far far away, the Special Releases from Diageo were actually affordable. And in 2009 they released an 18yo Mannochmore, distilled in 1990. And that particular Mannochmore is absolutely gorgeous.
Mannochmore 18yo (54,9%, OB, 3210 bts.)
Nose: Sweet sherry with incredible balance. Lots of vanilla and sweet malt. Some fruity notes with cranberry and raisins followed by a whiff of coffee, cocoa and tobacco. Also a hint of aniseed. The nose is simply great.
Taste: Super sweet and syrupy, incredibly smooth. For this Mannochmore they used a mixture of European and American casks. Dates, apricots and oranges shine. With just the right amount of oak. The mint is here too, and also some peanuts.
Finish: Chocolate-y and minty. Very long.
I’ve had this bottle open now for a couple of months. And every time I pour myself a dram, I’m still surprised by how good it is. It might take some searching, but it is still available for 170/180 euro. I paid less than that, but knowing what I know now, I think it is actually worth its current retail price.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.