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Monday, June 6, 2016

Mannochmore Multitudes with The Malt Nuts

A few weeks ago I attended my first Malt Nuts monthly event.  Though it was their 55th get together and everyone already knew each other, they were very welcoming and I felt like I instantly fit right in.  And AND(!) these events are blind tastings.  So, though we may know the distillery or theme, we don't know the age or strength or anything about what's sitting in our glasses.

This month's event was all about Mannochmore (with one surprise) and a pair of Alexander Murray single casks.  For more details and photos, please see The Whisky Jug's post about this same event.  Because my notes are nearly illegible and because there's a lot of whisky to write about here, I'll keep my reviews as Sku-sized as possible.


These were poured for us by an Alexander Murray rep who claimed there will be more cask strength stuff coming from his company soon.  That would appreciated since the rest of their range is 40%abv, colored, and filtered.  Note: these two were not poured blindly.

Highland Park 13yo 2000 Alexander Murray, ex-bourbon cask, 56.1%abv
Review: The nose has something strange and stinky like moldy fruit. That's followed by floral gum, anise, and burnt hay. The palate has that odd funk from the nose, followed by some vague floral notes and moderate malt levels. It's quite drying, especially in the finish.
Comments: It is by far the least pleasant Highland Park I've ever tried. After sipping it, Josh (The Whiskey Jug) and I were like "WTF?" Man, I'm glad I didn't buy this blindly.
Grade Range: C-  (and that's probably generous)

Dalmore 15yo 1999 Alexander Murray, ex-sherry secondary maturation, 55.6%abv
Review: The nose is very floral with a little bit of mango and larger notes of dried cherries. The palate is herbal, buttery, and sweet.  Peppery alcohol heat, occasional hints of malt, and drying in the finish.
Comments: Though the palate was forgettable, the nose was pretty good. I'm not a Dalmore fan, but this one was better than the Highland Park.  Still, it's tough to recommend.
Grade Range: C+/B-


1A - Mannochmore Flora & Fauna 12yo, 43%abv
Review: The nose is very clean, herbal, and full of crisp grain notes.  The palate is a little bitter, a little fruity, a little malty. Texturally, it's thin and watery.
Comments: A happy lack of oak makes this a reliable naked malt.  I really wish it had more oomph and depth to it, but it's a Diageo product so they likely abused this stuff within an inch of its life.
Grade Range: C+/B-
(A full review to follow later this week!)

1B - Mannochmore 16 year old 1990-2007 G&M Connoisseurs Choice, 46%abv
This is the bottle I brought to the event.  Because it was unopened until that night, I had no idea what this whisky would taste like.
Review: A musty basement note starts the nose, followed by spicy, salty, and savory things. Also, nutty sherry? The palate is bright and mildly peppery with lots of malt.  White fruit notes start small then expand with time. A hint of salty toffee.
Comments: I'm so thankful it wasn't crappy.  It's not amazing either, but it's a solid drinker.  I'm looking forward to drinking some more of it.
Grade Range: B-/B
(A full review to follow later this week!)

1C - Mannochmore 11 year old 1996-2007 Duncan Taylor NC2 for D&M Wines, 46%abv
Review: The nose is all spirit.  A little bit of white fruit, lime, cucumber, sugar.  There's also a fishy/seaweed note in the background. The palate is perfumy and cloying with a slight leathery note.  I've had glasses of water with longer finishes than this.
Comments: Totally out of whack, this is the second D&M exclusive whisky I've found unpleasant.  I love spirit-forward whiskies, but......bleh.
Grade Range: D+/C-

2A - Mannochmore 13 year old 1998 G&M for Binny's, 57.8%abv
Review: The nose is fruity with a slight barbecue note.  Toasty, herbal, medicinal with pencil shavings and sherry? The palate is sweet and tangy with lovely bright fruity esters.
Comments: Surprising levels of depth and complexity.  The best of the bunch.
Grade Range: B+

2B - Glenlossie 17 year old Hepburn's Choice for K&L Wine Merchants, 55.4%abv
Surprise! A Glenlossie, Mannochmore's older sibling and next door neighbor.
Review: Baked bananas, vanilla bean, and lemon lollipops on the nose.  The palate is sweet, herbal, toasty, and malty.  Lemon candy and vanilla notes run right through into the finish.
Comments: Whisky candy! K&L recently dropped the price on this one to $69.99.
Grade Range: B/B+

3A - Mannochmore 12 year old 1999 Blackadder Raw Cask, 60.6%abv
Review: Sulphur, leather, and rocks on the nose. Sulphur, pepper, sulphur, heat, sulphur, and a slight sweetness in the palate.
Comments: Sulphur. It gets points for brutality, but I can't say I have any desire to drink this again.  A number of Nuts liked this whisky more than I.
Grade Range: C+

3B - Mannochmore 16 year old 1991-2008 Signatory, South African sherry butt, 55.8%abv
Review: Bananas, caramel, apples, and toffee pudding on the nose.  The palate is mild, grainy, grassy, and a little floral.
Comments: The Whisky Jug found the nose inert, but the palate vivid.  I had the exact opposite experience.  I wish the palate matched the great nose, though.  Meanwhile, I would have never guessed this was anything but a regular refill cask.
Grade Range: B-

3C - Mannochmore 11 year old 2003-2014 SWMS, first fill ex-bourbon cask, 62.3%abv
Review: Marshmallows, marzipan, confectioner's sugar, potpourri, and cherries in the nose.  On the sweet palate light perfume and white fruit notes meet spicy oak.
Comments: A good spicy dessert whisky.  Drinkable at full strength.
Grade Range: B/B+
(A full review to follow later this week!)

This great experience has me looking forward to June's Malt Nuts event (which will be my final LA whisky event).  Many thanks to Mr. Kaye for the invitation!

My favorites from this session were:
1. Mannochmore 13 year old 1998 G&M for Binny's, 57.8%abv
2. Glenlossie 17 year old Hepburn's Choice for K&L Wine Merchants, 55.4%abv
3. Mannochmore 11 year old 2003-2014 SWMS, first fill ex-bourbon cask, 62.3%abv

My own Connoisseurs Choice bottle probably finished fourth.  As I noted above, I will be providing full reviews of the Connoisseurs, Flora & Fauna, and SMWS bottlings later this week.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I happened to buy that Highland Park since I wanted to try a cask strength example of the distillery (not sure why Edrington isn't releasing an official one). I'm finding it rather pleasantly fruity and un-Highland Park. It's lacking that gentle peat that's apparent in the official range so I agree it's an odd whisky. Still it's likeable enough that I'm not regretting buying a bottle.