Review: Cadenhead's Mannochmore 17 year old

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The arrival of any Authentic Collection from Cadenhead’s is a cause for investigation if not celebration. The July 2014 programme consists of 10 bottles including a bourbon from Heaven Hill (I’m hearing this is excellent from folk), a 1993 Ardbeg and a Glenfarclas from 1973. Sadly I cannot afford to purchase all ten, but I have already reviewed the 1982 Glen Mhor and bought the Mannochmore, Tobermory, Hazelburn and Mortlach releases to review and enjoy. I also managed to sample the Auchentoshan 24 year old that wasn’t in the same class as the 21 bottled earlier this year, but is still very enjoyable nevertheless and attractively priced. I will most likely pick that up in the coming months spare cash permitting.
 
What I find refreshing about the line-up is that it consists of mostly unfashionable distilleries with Ardbeg being the obvious exclusion and perhaps we can add Mortlach to this list if the Diageo re-premiumisation takes off. Generally bottles from recent Authentic or Small Batch releases such as the Mannochmore, Tobermory, Deanston, Strathmill, Speyside and Tamdhu can be overlooked simply because these distilleries have such a low profile. Yet open a bottle amongst friends, break away from the marketing hype and you’ll be surprised. Hence my purchase of this impressive Mannochmore.
 
I guess some of you will be asking what is this Mannochmore distillery all about then? I’ve never heard of it etc. That’s understandable and it is kind of ironic that my Word spellchecker thinks it should actually be spelt as monochrome. This isn’t a headline grabbing distillery and was purposely built in 1971 to produce for blends. It shares the same site as Glenlossie and with no visitor centre or official releases of note, apart from an inclusion in the Flora and Fauna (F&F) series, it is another example of a hidden Speyside workhorse. This changed in 1996 with the release of the now infamous Loch Dhu black whisky. The reputation of this whisky is widely known and feared; I will review it at Whisky Rover once I’ve built up the courage.
 
 
Needless to say the Mannochmore name isn’t an instant seller and will likely remain that way. Apart from an inclusion the Manager’s Choice range that wasn’t meant for public consumption, official distillery releases have been watered down to 43% for the F&F or 40% for the Loch Du – if you really want to include that one. Support from the normally reliable independent bottlers has also been scant, so this Cadenhead’s release marks a rare opportunity.
 
Distillery: Mannochmore
Distilled: 1996
Bottled: 2014 (17 years)
Strength: 52.5%
Additional: July 2014 Authentic Collection
Edition: 174 bottles
Cask: Bourbon hogshead
Price:  £52.95
Colour: a sun withered pine

Nose: up front with vanilla, then lashings of whipped cream from an aerosol and scatterings of lime rind. Actually on second inspection that cream has become creamed coconut with a sprinkling of lemon sherbet. More water into the mix results in more fruit notes arriving; juicy pineapple no make that more nectarines now. Maybe its just me but a little bit of smoke leaving this one to rest for a while. Classic Speyside stuff.

Taste: slight toasted pine nuts followed by freshly cut apples and tarragon of all things just in the background, with the forefront dominated by the wood and vanilla. With water there is the essence of melted caramel but not the richly brown coloured variety; more the anaemic mass produced type.

An engaging nose soon fades away once you experience what flavours this Mannochmore has to offer. A really sweet gentle loving lass this one you can spend time with; sit back and enjoy. A little tense at first, a few drops of water and some time to adjust allows the malt to relax and open up. Can someone explain why we don't see more of Mannochmore on the market?

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