Mannochmore (Pronounced: MANnock-more)
Glenlossie, Benriach, Glen Elgin, Longmorn
The Bardon Burn
3 Wash stills, 3 Spirit stills
3,200,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Diageo > UDV (since 1971)
Elgin, Morayshire, IV30 3SS, Scotland, UK
Not really (unless you count Flora & Fauna and UDRM)
Below, on WhiskyFun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
2007 - Since the construction of Mannochmore on the grounds of the Glenlossie distillery in 1971, the same working crew has worked in both distilleries - switching from one to the other every six months. This schedule changes in 2007 when both distilleries are manned by
their own team of distillery workers.
2008 - Mannochmore becomes one of the few distilleries in Scotland with a female site operations manager.
After working at Tomatin for four years, Polly Macdonald started working for Diageo in January 2008.
2012 - The mash tun at Mannochmore is replaced and a biomass burner is installed.
Mannochmore is actually one of the most recently constructed distilleries
in Scotland. It was built in 1971 by John Haig & Co. on the site of another
distillery: Glenlossie (which was founded in 1876). Mannochmore is hard to
see from the road because it lies in the middle of the complex it shares with
Glenlossie. It doesn't have any indication on the building that it is actually
the Mannochmore distillery. Mannochmore's production capacity is roughly
three times that of the original Glenlossie distillery.
Between 1985 and 1989 the production at Mannochmore was suspended.
The distillery was closed until 1989 and then again briefly in 1995. For circa
a decade the distilling crew from Glenlossie would switch to Mannochmore
for a few months, but around 2007 both distilleries operated full time again.
The Mannochmore distillery has one cast iron mash tun (lauter type) of 11,5 tonnes with a copper dome, eight larch washbacks with a total capacity of 55,000 liters, a Porteus mill, three wash stills (capacity 14,400 liters) and three spirit stills (capacity 17,000 liters) - both heated by steam. The types of barley are Optic and Chariot - and the malted barley is lightly peated at UDV maltings. The distillery has room to store 13 tonnes of grist and 250 tonnes of malted barley. The water reservoir south of the distillery stores water that has flown there from the Mannoach Hills. The cask warehouse and the dark grains plant within the complex are shared between Glenlossie and Mannochmore.
Like other UDV distilleries that were (re)built in the late 1960s or early 1970s
(for example Clynelish / Brora, Teaninich and Linkwood) there's a very specific
dynamic between the old and new distillery buildings. In some cases (like for
example Brora and Clynelish) the new distillery eventually replaced the old
one, while in other cases the old and new buildings merged into a new and
bigger distillery - for example the Linkwood distillery.
Mannochmore used to be a fairly anonymous distillery, until they released a
new single malt whisky in 1996: Loch Dhu. The name is Gaelic for 'Black Lake'.
This was a very suitable name because the whisky was virtually black - hence
the subtitle 'the black whisky'. They might also have gone for the subtitle 'the
black sheep', because a lot of people loathed the smokey, sticky goo...
Thanks to Loch Dhu, Mannochmore went from 'relatively unknown' to 'infamous' without ever
becoming really famous in-between. During the 1990's there used to be a big 'Public Warnings'
page on this site and Loch Dhu inspired by far the most negative comments. Two of the most
memorable remarks were 'This stuff is like licking an ashtray' and 'Needs no water. What it really
needs is to be poured down the nearest sink.'
Loch Dhu did have a few hard core fans though - including Indian malt maniac Krishna Nukala.
After the brand was discontinued a few years after it was introduced, a few die hard fans went
through a lot of trouble and paid a lot of money in order to secure the last remaining bottles.
At some point misguided Americans paid 160 US dollars for a little 20cl bottle of the vile stuff!
Well, I guess there's no accounting for bad taste... ;-)
1) A 'Flora & Fauna' semi-official bottling of the Mannochmore single malt whisky (with a woodpecker on the label) was released in 1992.
2) In 1996 the first batch of Loch Dhu novelty whisky is released. It is also known as 'the black whisky' due to the massive amounts of spirit caramel which were artificially added to the whisky.
3) The malted barley is purchased from Castle Head Maltings in the town of Elgin.
4) The control of the stills of Mannochmore is automated to a large degree. It is centralised via a 'control box' in the still room. Through the control box the still man controls temperatures, spirit strengths and pressures.
5) The Glenlossie / Mannochmore distillery complex shares its cask storage facilities (both traditional and racked warehouses) with a total capacity of 38.5 million litres of alcohol. The last time I checked there were no less than 14 warehouses which stored a whopping 250,000 casks.
6) The distillery complex also has a dark grains plant which processes draff and pot ale form 21 different distilleries. On a weekly basis, it can process 2600 tonnes of draff and 8 million litres of pot ale to produce 1000 tonnes of dark grains.
7) The Mannochmore distillery has a cast iron mash tun with a capacity of more than 11 tonnes.
Mannochmore 19yo 1984 Sherry Finish (46%, Helen Arthur Single Cask, C#4582, Unchill-filtered)
Nose: Wow! Big, sweet and sherried - you could have fooled me it's 100% sherry.
Well, a re-fill cask perhaps. Still, this is my favourite 'Helen Arthur' bottling so far.
Spicier over time with some subtle organics growing stronger. Something 'veggy' too.
On closer inspection, it becomes clear that the 'finish' is draped over a plain whisky.
This malt has undergone plastic surgery and from a distance it's easy on the senses.
If you look closer, some things seem a bit 'unnatural', but you can still have a lot of fun.
Taste: Quite smoky for a moment, before turning fruitier, then dry. Not a lot of 'depth' here.
In fact, the bitter smoky notes on the palate do remind me ever so slightly of Loch Dhu.
Score: 84 points - the nose is a bit odd and artificial, but very, very interesting indeed.
The simple palate pulls it from the upper 80's. It's a bit like an unpeated Bowmore.
Nevertheless, this is an example of a succesful finishing job - I like it!
Mannochmore 1984/2002 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur's Choice)
Nose: Serious - with a serious amount of sherry. Some serious organics too. Maggi.
Rotting fruits, but very little of the fruity sweetness that usually comes with it.
Taste: It IS sweet on the palate. Fruity as well, growing maltier. Yep, very nice.
Smokier towards the finish. It's not overly complex but the finish lasts very long.
Score: 80 points - just a little too many rough edges to make it far into the 80's.
I guess the fact that I'm a sherry freak helps this one a lot - it has some flaws.
Mannochmore 16yo 1984/2001 (43%, Signatory, Butt #4576)
Nose: Grainy start, quickly growing creamier and sweeter. Not very expressive.
After a few minutes some gentle organics appear that make things more interesting.
Taste: Weak start. Faint honey sweetness. No obvious flaws, but it lacks personality.
Score: 70 points - lack of character keeps it at at the lower end of the 'average' range.
Loch Dhu 10yo (43%, OB, 20cl, USA, Bottled +/- 1999, my special little torture bottle)
I've heard there are people who swear by it - some in positive manner and others... well... not so positive...
Nose: Smoke & ashes. Tia Maria? Old Mocca? Flat. It smells more like a bad mood than an actual bouquet.
Taste: Eugh! Ash. Buysman. Insecticide. The centre is very thin, but it leaves a lasting impression on the tongue.
Score: 14 points - yes, this one actually seems a little 'better' (a very relative in this situation) than the big bottle I tried almost two years ago. I usually need to drink at least 20 drams before I get the drive to puke, but just 1 small dram of Loch Dhu does the trick just fine. Amazingly enough, filling your 'empty' glass with two drams worth of water for cleaning makes the water turn as dark as whisky.
Mannochmore 22yo 1974/1997 (60.1%, UDRM, Bottled in September 1997)
Nose: Smoke and some peat. Hint of fruits and flowers.
At +/- 50%, it opens up and moves in a sweeter direction.
Organic. Diluted to +/- 40%, chloride suddenly overwhelms everything else. Clean.
Spirity with some smoke and peat. Numbs the nose.
Sweeter with time, showing soft fruity / flowery notes.
Then more smoke. With some water it became sweeter, then it grows even smokier.
Taste: Undiluted, it's really powerful. Sweet start, smoky in the center. Salt liquorice?
Still very strong at 50%, but smoother towards the finish. Nice but impersonal at 40%.
Mega-smooth, though - like whipped cream.Round and sweet with a growing smokiness.
Tar? Salt liquorice? After adding water the pepper in the finish becomes more pronounced.
Very smooth at +/- 50%, but it lacks identity and character.
Conclusion: 77 points - unlike the Loch Dhu 10yo, this is a 'decent' malt - but not much more...
Infinitely better than the Loch Dhu 10, but certainly not worth the 65 Euro's I paid.
Ah well, live and learn....
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Mannochmore Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Mannochmore page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Mannochmore expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.)
Is the distillery or