...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where's the Love? Mannochmore 15 year old 1984 Mackillop's Choice

Here is Mannochmore Exhibit B.  I tried it alongside yesterday's 12yo Blackadder.  They are two very different whiskies.  This one actually hews closer to--

But first some Mannochmore trivia.  The distillery sits right inside Glenlossie Distillery's backyard.  And though it was built almost one hundred years after Glenlossie its production capacity is almost twice as large.  The two distilleries used to share the same crew, but now each have their own.  According to Malt Madness, Mannochmore uses lightly peated Optic and Chariot barley purchased from Castle Head Maltings.  And, per Charlie Maclean's Whiskypedia, the distillery was originally built to produce malt for the growing Haig blends back in the '70s.  Though I don't know if it still goes into Haig's whiskies, I do know that it's almost entirely going into blends of some kind.

It also went into a single malt known as Loch Dhu. But this is nothing like Loch Dhu. It's more like--

Distillery: Mannochmore
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Mackillop's Choice
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Type: Single Malt
Age: 15 years (October 25, 1984 to October 1999)
Maturation: ex-sherry (I assume)
Cask number3696
Alcohol by Volume: 60.7%

The color is reddish gold.  The nose starts with dusty sherry, blood oranges, and raspberries.  New tires, fired paper caps, and a bundle of peat moss.  The sulfur grows and......I really like it.  It encounters loquats, sweet tea, sea salt taffy, mesquite barbecue, and dark chocolate, complimenting all of them.  After some time in the glass, the nose develops Willet Rye-style spicy notes like cinnamon bark and whole cloves.  The palate is intensely focused with a dense mouthfeel.  Prunes, carob, and loads of grape jam.  A subtle bitterness keeps the sweetness in check.  A little smoke encircles the sulfur.  Smoked PX in the finish.  Dark chocolate with sea salt and raspberries.  Struck matches put out in grape jam.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The sulfur remains in the nose where it joins moss, cherries, lemonade, plums, and fresh cut grass.   The whisky almost becomes port-ish.  Or if you'll pardon the conceit: The waiter lights your table candle with a match then delivers a ramekin of toffee pudding with lemon zest and a glass of port to your table in a peat bog.  The palate is grassy, maybe more like hay.  Salt and malt.   Lots of sweet sherry.  Cigarettes, grapefruit, Angostura bitters, menthol.  The tart smoky finish still has those prunes, dark chocolate, and bitters.  Grass, cucumbers, salt, and menthol.

100 minutes in the glass.  Beginning to end, fucking dynamite.

No joke, this beats most of the sherried Glendronach I've tried.  Had I done it blind, I would have guessed this was a sulfured 'Dronach anyway.  And older than 15 years.  Speaking of the stuff, this is the best sulfur I've experienced.  It works so well that I think this whisky would have been much lesser without it.  While one would think sulfur would cast a shadow over the proceedings, it does no such thing.  It works with the all of the other elements in tune.

When I scheduled this review, I was worried this sample would have been lifeless.  It spent almost as many years in the bottle as it did in the cask, then it was poured into a sample bottle and sat in my stash for almost two years.  Not only was it not lifeless, but holy crap.

Yes, this was bottled in 1999.  And yeah, someone in Germany was selling it for €400+ not too long ago.  But this made me a believer.  I shall no longer cast a stink eye at a Mannochmore.  In fact, I will keep a non-stink eye open for a well-sherried Mannochmore in the future.  There's the love.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 92 (note: sulfur)


  1. Based on the reviews I've seen, Usuikyou 1983 is arguably the worst whisk(e)y of all time. Heck, the name sounds like it's insulting the drinker (You suck you!). At the very least Loch Dhu is one expression of Mannochmore out of hundreds. Usuikyou 1983 is presently the only indie release of Monde Syuzou distillery.

    1. Yeah, I'd be happy if I could avoid Usuikyou as long as possible. The LAWS guys have a few whiskies in their database that I'd rank as bad or worse than Loch Dhu. This one is so bad I don't even know how to rate it. There's no whisky in it. It's all soap. (Many g**damnits to Andy for the sample.)

    2. Are we going to see a complete review of the Edradour 30? And did Andy also send a sample of Usuikyou? It's funny that Andy was the ONLY LAWS member to like Usuikyou which raises some serious questions about his palate....

    3. Sadly/Happily, there will be no review of Edradour 30 as I will never be trying that again. No sample of Usuikyou, though I would attempt a post about it if I received one. Regarding Andy, he's tried 2x-3x the number of whiskies he's reviewed on LAWS. And while his palate is often unique to most of the other LAWS dudes, I've found that palate pretty trustworthy as he and I have shared booze on many occasions. And who knows, we all have our weird tasting days, his are published online. As will mine! I'll have to find out the fate of that Usuikyou bottle, though.

  2. "The waiter lights your table candle with a match then delivers a ramekin of toffee pudding with lemon zest and a glass of port to your table in a peat bog." Either your greatest sentence, or you've jumped the shark - maybe both. Better to burn out than to fade away, baby. Fantastic.

    1. Dude, I must keep jumping the shark lest the creature consumes me.