Tasting Notes – Monnochmore 18 Yeard Old Scotch 1990 Scotch Whisky
In 2009, Diageo continued their budding tradition of annual limited run whisky releases. Many of these offerings have come from distilleries that were either closed or were those that usually found their whisky blended. Of the nine cask strength releases of 2009, my first is the Mannochmore 18 year old 1990 expression. This is a singular release that is likely to remain one of my favorites for a goodly long time.
The practice of putting Scotch whisky down in used sherry, bourbon, rum or other casks has been around for a while. Very few, however, employ multiple casks from multiple locations and having held multiple liquors. The Mannocchmore 18 year old 1990 is unique in this regard and has been aged in three different styles of cask:
Re-charred ex-sherry bodega European oak
Re-charred ex-bourbon barrels
New American oak casks previously used for sherry
The Speyside distillery of Mannochmore hails from 1971 and is known for crafting whiskys that are floral, sweet and heavy on the palette. This offering not only honors that foundation but builds upon considerably. At 54.9% alcohol by volume, the 1990 18 year old brings sincere muscle to the party as well.
On the nose, announces its point of origin as an undoubtedly Speyside whisky. There is a first hit of butterscotch and vanilla, enough so to make a Kentuckian think of his bourbon home. Dried apricot, spiced cherry and hints of wet moss come along for the ride as well. There is also a host of spice that follow with the most prominent being green cardamon and black pepper.
The Mannochmore 18 year old 1990 expression shines in the dram. The warmth of the elevated proof give way to caramel, field fresh floral tones and a fruity sweetness. The medium finish highlights the spicier notes with black pepper pleasantly dominant. The aftertaste is sweet, warm and lasting. It is a viscous and heavy whisky with real weight on the palette typical of this distiller. The addition of filtered water or an ice cube really opens the Mannochmore up to an array of sweet fruit flavors with strawberry and apricot jostling for space with a new found hint of jasmine. This is a decidedly full flavored whisky but is so without being muddy or overbearing. The flavors are harmonious and full of curiosity.
I strongly recommend the Mannochmore 18 year old 1990 expression and encourage those interested to seek it out. It came from a limited release of about 2,600 bottles and was not distributed out of the United Kingdom. An exhaustive online search finds few Scotch purveyors showing stock of this gem. Master of Malt is the exception and they are offering this wisky 18 for £120 (about $197 USD). This is a must for those interested in smooth yet exceedingly full flavored whiskys. Enjoy this one slowly.
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