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Friday, October 29, 2021

Mannochmore 22 year old 1997 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 12098

Yeah, I agree, there aren't enough Mannochmore reviews on this site. But I'm fresh outta The Mann after today. There are probably another dozen unsung distilleries that I'm short on. But let us embrace what we've got, or at least what I've got, and that is a sherry cask Mannochmore with age on it. I don't know when this circumstance will come around again, so cheers!

Distillery: Mannochmore    
Ownership: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice - Cask Strength
Age: 22 years (1997 - Feb 2020)
Maturation: first fill sherry butt
Cask #: 12098
Outturn: 490 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 55.8%
(from a bottle split)


It's not a sherry bomb despite two decades in a first-fill cask. Dried cherries and a hint of gunpowder are present at the nose's start, but there are also pears, cloves and hint of ocean air just underneath. By the 30-minute mark, cherry pie and figs have taken over with a whiff of smoke supplanting the gunpowder. The nose shifts nicely once the whisky is reduced to 50%abv, showing black walnuts, clay, barley and apricots.

What a start to the palate: dry nutty sherry, pan fried herbs, concrete and apple skins. Oranges, honey and mint float through the midground, while an earthy smoky note hides in the back. At 50%abv, it's all dried herbs, oranges, limes and a slight industrial note.

It finishes with mint, honey, limes, some earthy funk and a subtle bitter herbal bite. Simpler at 50%abv, the finish holds limes and a touch of dusty smoke.


This is a great whisky for a rainy autumn night. Or, you know, any night really. But Autumn is my favorite whisky season, and it has arrived. The leaves are dying beautifully, the rain lulls at night, and my ratty old sweatshirts get more comfortable every year.

Back to the whisky. Apparently there are two labels for this cask. One says "First Refill" the other says "First Fill". It reads like the former, like a second fill. The cask is still present, but gently so. I also appreciate that it works well with or without water. The bottles are still relatively available (as of today) throughout Western Europe because the whisky isn't heavily sherried nor is its hue particularly dark. And it's Mannochmore.

Availability - At a few dozen European retailers
Pricing - €140-€175
Rating - 89

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