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1997 Mannochmore 18 Year Manager's Dram Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review: Consistency is Key in Blending Whisky, but Variety is the Spice of Life

Updated: Jul 5

Mannochmore Distillery

Scottish Malt Distillers founded Mannochmore Distillery in 1971. The site was managed by John Haig & Company Limited until 1985, at which point it was mothballed due to the Great British Recession. It has since reopened under the Diageo umbrella. This is a Speyside distillery running 6 traditional Speyside pot stills at its location near Elgin in Thomshill, Scotland.

There hasn’t been a great deal of official bottlings from Mannochmore. The distillery did release a single malt called Loch Dhu, which did well in the market. ‘Loch Dhu’ means ‘black lake’ in Gaelic, which was an extremely appropriate title, as the spirit was basically black. Loch Dhu became known as the ‘Black Whisky’, and was incredibly popular due to its niche slot in the malt world. The distillery has since stopped producing Loch Dhu.

The reason that Mannochmore is rarely seen as a single malt is that the distillery is one of Diageo’s workhouse distilleries. Mannochmore used to be a major component in the Haig blends, and today it is a major component in many of Diageo’s blends, including (unsurprisingly) Johnnie Walker.

A big thank you to Gregory Cloyd, for organizing such an illuminating tasting. It was a privilege to explore his beautiful garden and visit this fairy house in particular. While the fairies were likely asleep (or fluttering about his whisky library), their message of good fortune and interconnectedness was celebrated with a wonderful group of whisky enthusiasts as we tasted through an incredible Manager's Dram lineup.


Company on Label: Mannochmore Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted barley

Proof: 132°

Age: 18 years (distilled in 1979 and bottled October 12th, 1997)

Further identification: On the front label: A 18 Year Old refill cask specially selected and bottled at natural strength for malt distillery managers within United Distillers by Harry Fox.


Nick's Thoughts

Nose: Nilla wafers are hot and powerful in the nose. It’s like a cut up green pepper, juicy and ladened with olive oil, ready for the pan. At this point in the tasting, silliness began, with ‘funk’ becoming ‘fonk’ in a terrible British accent. After water, the nose became frothed milk, steamy and complete, ready for its addition to a cappuccino. It’s vanilla to the moon and fluffy like a pillow. Lemon frosting hangs in late.

Palate: Hot black tea meets nilla wafers. Sipping through quickly flashes the same green pepper from the nose onto the taste buds. More cohesive than I’m letting on, this is like a lovely cream puff pastry. Wonderful pour.

Jes's Thoughts

Nose: Old leather sandals wet with sand greet me as I take my first inhale. The "fonk" is undeniable and quite giggle-worthy when said in a terribly excellent British accent (mine more so terrible than Nick's). Thick baked shortbread biscuits saunter in next, suggesting an indulgently robust palate awaits. The lid of a travel coffee mug, slightly rubbery in nature, nudges me to lace up my shoes and get on with it.

Palate: Oh, wow. A beastly flavorful sip. Thick, rich vanilla whipped cream and sweet fruits amongst a blooming vegetable garden. There's a beautiful wood spice with a surprising sweetness to it, reminding me of hard-to-find decadent treats I finally cave into and enjoy. Just lovely.


Rating: 4.5/5

This one stood out well for both Nick and Jes. Nick loved the uniqueness of the green pepper notes, and Jes enjoyed the decadently "fonky" flavor profile.


Written by: The Amongst the Whiskey Team




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