As Diageo drearily oozes out NAS malt after NAS malt -- Storm, Dark Storm, Skye, Neist Point, Port Ruighe, Little Bay, Selected Reserve, Gold Reserve, Amber Rock, Rare Old, Classic, Double Matured, Master's Art, Spey Cascade, Tailfire, Sunray, Winter's Gold -- like an infected wound leaking pus, one wonders why they elected not to take the road Bacardi is traveling. The makers of Dewar's recently released new official ranges of single malts from a number of their distilleries (Aultmore, Royal Brackla, Craigellachie, and Macduff), with age statements too, mind you. Both companies want a piece of the growing single malt market, but they're approaching from very different directions. I'm not sure how Diageo hopes to secure single malt fans with silly names tied to young whiskies, but I do see how Bacardi can catch some of us with official ranges we've never seen in this century.
What I'm trying to say is, I wish Diageo would refresh the Flora & Fauna series and make it available worldwide. Even if it's just one 10 or 12 year old from distilleries like Blair Athol, Dailuaine, Glen Spey, Inchgower, and Linkwood. Hell, they don't even need to change the labels. I would happily spend the $40 that I would never spill for any of the new NASes on this whisky instead. This paragraph of course doesn't apply to the good folks in the UK who can actually obtain an F&F without much trouble.
I wrote a brief review of the Mannochmore F&F in my Malt Nuts post on Monday. Josh from The Whiskey Jug gave poured me a sample from his bottle, the same one from the event. Thanks, Josh!
Range: Flora & Fauna
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Age: at least 12 years
Maturation: probably re-fill American oak casks
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Its color is a very light amber. Nice, Diageo!
The nose is full of lemons and blossoms. Watermelon rind (or it smells like rind tastes). Peaches, dried apricots, and lime popsicles. With time it develops small notes of vinegar, vanilla, and sambuca.
The palate is lightly malty with pepper and lime. It's moderately sweet with flower kiss candy and almonds. It develops a lovely sweet + spicy note after 20 minutes, and the flower blossoms float in.
It finishes sweetly with limes and malt. Vanilla and cream soda. Then that sweet + spicy note takes over.
WITH WATER (~35%abv)
The nose gets super malty, almost chocolatey. Subtler florals. Vanilla, limes, caramel, and sugar.
The palate is very malty too, with a hint of good bitterness. Some tart lemons and limes, as well.
The finish matches the palate.
This would be a very solid starter malt, maybe a tiny notch up on Tomatin 12, fruity and pretty, but with a spicy zing to the palate to give it more depth. The 43% abv works in its favor, so I'm glad it wasn't bottled at 40. And it takes to water very well, turning deeply malty at 35%abv. Also, no e150a, perhaps? It looks like whisky, not orange-brown Diageo™. So that's another plus. If this sold for $40 in The States I'd recommend it. But it's £45+shipping from the UK, so I can't.
Availability - Europe only
Pricing - £45 + shipping (for us USers)
Rating - 83