Cadenhead's Mannochmore 20yo (52.7%): Another sample I brought back from the Istanbul Whisky Society meeting a couple weeks ago: A 20 year old single cask Mannochmore from Cadenhead's. Mannochmore is a distillery from the modern era constructed in 1971 on the site of Glenlossie distillery. Although we rarely see individual bottlings from Mannochmore the distillery actually has a whopping capacity of 6 million liters per year pumping malt whisky for almost all of the Diageo's blended whisky brands. The whisky in my sample bottle is distilled in 1997 and aged in an ex-bourbon hogshead for 20 years before being released in 2017. The cask yielded 276 bottles in total at cask strength.
Color: Oaked Chardonnay, deep straw color with fast but thick legs.
Nose: It noses way younger than it is, very grassy and chalky. Green hay, pebbles and vanilla. Unripe pineapple slices, jonquils and bitter greens. Adding a few drops of water makes it tad more floral and also a little pefumy: Hyacinths, honey syrup and cookie dough. Very floral, pleasant but raw and spirity.
Palate: Eucalyptus drops, dry malt and breakfast cereals. Lemon juice, cream soda and white mulberries. Adding water makes it more accessible, a little more green but not necessarily more complex: Shaved fennel, dandelion leaves and cream puffs. A little salty and also mineral towards the end.
Finish: Long with alcohol burn, white pepper, salt and bitter greens.
Overall: Well, that cask barely worked on the spirit in those twenty years... I am a big fan of distillate driven whiskies and therefore I enjoyed the whole ride more than anyone would but I also wouldn't blame people expecting a little more from a twenty year old whisky. It is grassy, bitter and malty in a beautiful way but also raw, edgy and a little immature in the end. I can totally see how important this distillery must be for Diageo providing a very strong malty backbone for all their blends but it doesn't really deliver a lot as a single malt for me. Thanks again to Istanbul Whisky Society for providing the sample.