Flora and Fauna – Mannochmore 12 year 43%

Our 1st 2021 Whisky Ladies European Chapter comes thanks to a Diageo connection with careful selection from their Flora and Fauna range.

For some reason I’ve gravitated towards Mannochmore in the last year or so… likely influenced by the rather marvellous Gordon & MacPhail 25 year cask strength sampled at Berlin’s Union Jack and most recently a Chorlton cask strength 12 year.

So I was rather curious to see how it would hold up in an official bottling at a mere 43%…

Mannochmore 12 year 43%

  • Nose – Bournvita and vegemite, then sweet sweet honey, shifting even into honeysuckle flowers, crisp green apples, pears, then fresh cut grass, then a hint of prunes… it kept shifting between more vegetal lightly salty elements and fruity flowery, fresh and green
  • Palate – Interesting – not at all what we expected from the aromas. It was surprisingly well rounded, had a kind of mineral substance, a dash of salt, some wood and light spice, yet as we sipped, it started to become more and more in harmony with the aromas
  • Finish – Initially herbal, anise

We paused… hmm… gave it some consideration. It comes across as ‘easy drinking’ and yet at the same time there is a classical yet whimsical element too. Backed up by quiet strength. Is it massively complex? No. But it is interesting. And has a kind of classic Speyside nod with just enough maturity to not be completely dismissed as a ‘light weight’.

We set it aside to try the others and returned to be pleasantly surprised. It kept is character. If anything it was even fruitier, remained rounded and tasty… not such a bad dram at all.

Bottom line – we liked it!

What do the folks at Diageo have to say?

Surprisingly clean, dry, and refreshingly direct. Mannochmore makes a good aperitif with its light, grassy and herbal notes.

  • Appearance – Pale gold or white wine.
  • Body – Light to medium in body, like a fine wine.
  • Nose – The first impression is sweet and lightly malty, then some aldehydic (green sticks) notes emerge and a slight whiff of brimstone. After a while, the green notes become green apples, and the sulphur notes more like carbon monoxide. With water, similar to the unreduced nose: fresh-fruity, with traces of ‘Spangles’ and acid drops, and still a hint of sulphur compounds in the background. Somewhat ‘monochromatic’ for a Speyside.
  • Palate – Fresh and clean – appetising with good acidity and a well-balanced dryness overall.
  • Finish – Surprisingly dry in the finish for a Speyside.

Would we agree? In truth we didn’t get the sulphur but the balance rang more or less ‘true.’   

In our first Flora & Fauna evening, we also sampled:

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Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with:

Chorlton – Mannochmore 12 years 58.7%

All the Chorlton‘s I’ve tried so far are from the L’Ancien Régime series – with a gorgeous consistency to the labels.

However this Mannochmore comes from a different series – La Nouvelle Vague – with delightful period stylized labels. I couldn’t resist throwing a bouquet of flowers into the mix with my photo!

As for the whisky…. read on…

Mannochmore 12 years 58.7% 108 bottles

  • Nose – Yummy, a fruit basket in a glass! Generous cherries, vanilla sponge cake, amaretto, flowery, fresh, beeswax candle, herbal
  • Palate – Toffee, sweet spices, fruity… after some time – yup there is the pineapple and mango… the fruity fabulous quality fully comes through…
  • Finish – Stays… long, lingering, more of that toffee, sweet spices… mmmmm…..

There was a delightful summery quality to this whisky. I found a citrus twist whereas another lady did not. Which is completely normal – different conditions, different glasses, different palates and persuasions.

So whether we found spring, summer or fall in the character of this whisky, did we like it? Absolutely without a doubt!  We really appreciated the subtle contrast between aromas and palate – similar vein but sufficiently different to keep us fully engaged.

A beautifully well rounded whisky – the kind you are quite happy to curl up, sip, enjoy.

What did David have to say? As it isn’t on his website, I’ve copied from his email which prompted this purchase!

And next is a 12yo Mannochmore. This continues the summery theme with a very clean, citrussy and herbal nose. I get melon, bergamot, lemon posset, posh olive oil, vanilla cream and a bit of lavender.

The neat palate is quite intensely tart at first, then sweet – like lemon sherbet, or biting into a kumquat. Wakes up the ol’ taste buds! The development then is on mango jam, roasted pineapple and a touch of peanut brittle in the aftertaste. With water everything is much softer, adding some Bakewell tart, orange, and cream soda.

A good example of the distillery character, this, and great fun to play with adding water. We got just 108 bottles from this bourbon barrel at 58.7%, and they’re available for £57.50 each.

I am so glad I managed to grab this while it was still available!

Here is the full set of Chorlton‘s sampled:

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Berlin’s Union Jack Tasting Adventures

Back in the day when we blithely took travel for granted, I popped over to Berlin for a weekend. A highlight was an evening at The Union Jack Pub with a Sharing Angel – Germany’s whisky women network.

I was completely distracted by the thick menu of options – until I discovered the real menu was displayed in a captivating way all around the room and in the head of the very knowledgable staff. High up in one corner, I couldn’t help but spy a collection of North Star. Then a set of Spirit Shop bottles… peak around the corner and even more independent goodies. It was like being a kid in a candy store!

Where did we start?

With a very green Berliner Kindl Weisse beer… cold, slightly tart and extremely refreshing, at a low alcohol level with a hint of woodruff, it was a perfect way to kick off our evening.

After many many different suggestions, we settled on our 1st dram:

We had high expectations of the Speyside – My companion thought it may be an old Edrigdon which dipped a bit 40 and was topped up by Glenfarclas, marrying together to mature even longer. She had tried it (or something similar) before and found it quite fabulous!
However this bottle? The nose was initially shy, we still had hopes but even after giving time to open up, it simply didn’t deliver. Unfortunately it was also thin and flat on palate. We began to speculate that perhaps it oxidated too long? We set it aside and returned to a sour nose, a bit of spice on palate and not much more. Tragedy, I confess I didn’t even finish it…
By contrast my companion’s Royal Brackla was a delight! All sunshine and happiness apples and apricots loads of sweet fruits, that carried through beautifully on the palate. I enjoyed it so much that I later picked up a bottle to enjoy it properly!
He really tried… Last effort began with SMWS Bunnahabhain – no peat, light fruit but not quite there. Then brought out Glenmorangie Bacalta… And Mannochmore – choice was clear.

Mannochmore 25 year (1990/2015) Bottle 0251, 53.4% (Gordon & Macphail)

It was like coming home – full fruity, complex, rewarding in every way. No need of water. Simply marvelous and such a perfect way to close our evening!

It was wonderful meeting a fellow whisky explorer, connecting and discussing malty matters over a dram or two.

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Gordon and Macphail’s Mannochmore 18 year 46%

At Whisky Live 2018 in Singapore, the Gordon & MacPhail booth is a great opportunity to sample fine whiskies and then possibly select one that might make it home to Mumbai for others to try.

The Mannochmore was very much in the running given our Mumbai tasting group’s haven’t yet sampled a whisky from this distillery.

This whisky is part of their Connoisseurs Choice range and I had only a small “speed date” style sniff and swish to discover a feel for the dram.

Mannochmore 18 year (23 August 1999 / 16 July 2018) 46% Refill Sherry Butt 10686, 670 Bottles

  • Nose – An overt Sherry, loads of raisins, noughat
  • Palate – Oak, dry, sweet spices with a citrus twist
  • Finish – A nice spice, more wood and something else

There was no doubt it was matured in a sherry cask… It certainly was interesting. But was it one to bring back to Mumbai?

I had only a wee nip for a passing impression – enough to know would like to revisit yet also sufficient to prefer to pick up in a less pricey market. At La Maison du Whisky in Singapore, it would set you back SGD 299.

What do the folks at Gordon & Macphail have to say about this whisky?

  • Nose – Full and fruity; aromas of stewed raisins soaked in Sherry, reminiscent of light fruitcake. Sweet marzipan notes complemented with creamy chocolate orange undertones. 
  • Taste – Full-bodied and warming; winter spices mingle with indulgent dark chocolate and clove studded orange flavours. Hints of rich plum jam and dark brown sugar lead into candied cherries.
  • Finish – Hints of tobacco and liquorice linger, fading into oak.

Other whiskies sampled at the Gordon & MacPhail booth, Whisky Live 2018:

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