From the moment the Mannochmore 1990 25 Years Old was announced as being a part of last years Special Releases from Diageo, I was very much looking forward to trying it. Why? Mainly because I have such fond memories of the last time Diageo chose to highlight spirit from this little known distillery.
There’s a big difference between the two though. Obviously one is older, but I’m talking about the casks that were used. For the Mannochmore 18 Year Old it was a mixture of American and European oak casks. That’s all we know, but from tasting it I’d say they managed a striking balance between sherry and bourbon influence.
Now this new 25 Year Old has matured in a combination of fresh American oak and European oak casks as well as first fill ex-bourbon American oak barrels and ex-Sherry European oak butts. That’s quite a mouthful. I’m guessing fresh oak means virgin?
Now I’ve tasted this whisky once before, during a judging session for the Spirit of Speyside Awards. It was my overall winner that day, edging out a Macallan 30 Years Old Sherry Wood even.
Mannochmore 1990 25 Years Old (53,4%, OB, 3954 bts.)
Nose: Lots of oak and varnish to start, which may not sound as a positive, but I find it rather appealing. There’s orange zest, a hint of lime, marshmallows too.
Taste: The sherry influence is a tad more noticeable here, with sweet brown sugar and cherry syrup. But again, the oak is extremely dominant. Orange liqueur and wood shavings. There’s some cloves and ginger too. Suprisingly enough, this is actually pretty well balanced.
Finish: An encore of what I’ve already described above. Medium in length.
Not as good as I remember, but still quite tasty. However, I don’t know if the whole virgin oak thing turned out very well. I presume some casks were re-racked into virgin oak because they weren’t up to par and needed a boost. But looking at the Mannochmore 1990 18 Years Old and seeing what a great whisky that was, I’d hoped the 25 Year Old-version would’ve been more in the mold of that one. Now it’s extremely wood driven.
Photo: Master of Malt