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Mannochmore 18 yo (1990/2009, OB, 54,9%)

You may think Diageo is only involved in alcohol… Well, you’d be wrong! In Mannochmore Distillery, in fact, there’s also a facility that produces animal feed, using the draff and the whisky production waste. Even if we’re tempted to taste that product too, we’ll stay stuck in our field and we’ll taste the latest of the very few official bottlings by the distillery: it’s an 18 years old malt, matured in ex-bourbon casks, re-charred sherry and american oak sherry casks. Ok, quite a mess. Colour is light copper.

N: without water: butter and sugar (shortcrust); vanilla, rusks, toffee, nougat. Caramelised pears; also some tropical fruit (we’d say “dehidrated papaya”, because you know, we’re cooler than you – nope, it’s just that we just bought it and well, it smells like this). Marshmellows. Liquorous notes, with a small sherry influence; milk chocolate (kinder eggs), raisins, panettone. After a while, here comes fruit: banana. Warm wood, really nice and gently spicy. Water turns on the wood, with a boost for the vanilla – milk chocolate – nougat side. After a while, the wood gets a bit dusty, giving it an old school feel. Spices gain intensity. Very nice, not uncommon and yet lovely profile.

P: delicious. Without water, there’s a pervading and blazing sweetness, evolving towards a slight bitterness. Cappuccino, raisins, pears; cereals (muesli). Vanilla again. There some herbal notes, very pleasant: hay (growing in time), green tea; mint, eucalyptus, delicate; lightly spiced and peppery. A few drops of water, unnecessary at the nose, here are most welcome: the profile doesn’t change, but everything is more intense and balanced (raisins, spices and mint stay upfront).

F: not so long, but very intense. Muesli and raisins, milk chocolate, and a decoration of nutmeg.

Just a few words are enough to define this dram: it’s a great whisky. As we said, it’s not surprising, there’s nothing unexpected, there ain’t no fireworks: but it’s nice, it’s solid, it points towards the goal and hits it perfectly. Everything is balanced, even if everything is in constant evolution. If only the finish was a bit longer, it would go above 90: but we’ll stick to 89/100, for now.

Recommended soundtrack: Max Romeo & The UpsettersI chase the Devil, from the album War ina Babylon.

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